Google's New Privacy Rules--Hacker's Dream and IT Nightmare?

By | Apr 6, 2012

Google has recently decided to combine its more than 60 user agreements into a single user agreement. They have also decided to link and store all information gained from users who access their services into a single database. In other words, users will have one login for all of their services across the web. This is not really new news, but the impact of these actions should be considered by IT personnel.

These changes have caused an uproar in the public and private sectors. In fact, according to CNET, large lawsuits have been filed in California and New York.

The Good

Users will have one login for all their services across the web. So, when a user logs into Analytics, he will automatically be logged into the search engine giant's other services. The user no longer needs to remember multiple passwords and user names to use many favorite free applications.

The simplicity of this seems to be a great advantage to the user, but it is actually a marketing strategy. They are trying to make each individual user's search environment unique. This gives Google the ability to send advertisements specific to the user's searches and Internet activity.

Advertisers will pay more money to have their advertisements sent to people who will more likely click on their links. An end goal for the search engine giant's team is to beat out the Facebook advertising muscle and be the top moneymaker in advertisement sales.

The Bad

Users will have one login for all of their services across the web. IT professionals are going to have to look at access rights given to users in their networks. The mixing of work life and personal life is not a good thing, and the new rules set forth allow this mixture to be dangerous when it comes to IT security issues.

Big Brother has come knocking, and his name is Google. The Internet giant will have your address, documents, music, videos, and more stored in a single database. Those users of Android smart phones will constantly let Google know where they are, what shows they buy tickets for, and other information not meant for others except their family and friends.

The Ugly

Has it been mentioned yet that users will have one login for all of their services across the web? This is a hacker's dream come true. Now, a hacker can glean the information from an email or a YouTube or Adsense account, and have access to all apps used by that user.

They will know when people are away from their homes, and depending on the location, how long they will be gone. They have access to Internet receipts, business data, and a slew of personal data all stored in Gmail account.

Hackers will have access to over 60 applications that are used by millions of people every day--all they have to do is hack one login.

Solution?

Create multiple Google accounts and recommend that workers at your company do the same. Use a naming convention that is easy for you to remember. For example, create a Gmail account called MikesAnalytics@gmail.com or DebbiesYouTube@gmail.com to log into those sites. More accounts still help the Internet giant by allowing them to announce more users are using their products, but that's not your concern.

The other option is to stop using Google's products. The search engine giant has stated that if users are not happy with the change, they can stop using their products. Use the "Don't Be Evil" tool developed by Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to counter Search Plus Your World. More information about this tool can be found at TheBlaze.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

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