News / Science & Technology

Google to Track Users Across Services

If you are one of the millions of people who use Google's online search engine, email or YouTube video site, you might want to pay close attention.  Google is changing its privacy policy to allow it to track users across services.

The company says beginning March 1, it is turning its more than 60 different privacy policies into one policy that will cover multiple products and features to create a "simple and intuitive" experience.

Google says it may combine information users have provided from one service with information from other services to better tailor search results and advertising.

But critics are concerned that Google is not providing a way to opt out of the tracking.  The chief executive of nonprofit advocacy group Common Sense Media issued a statement calling Google's new privacy announcement "frustrating and a little frightening."  He said consumers, especially kids and teens, should have the option to opt out.

Google and social media titan Facebook have faced privacy disputes in the past.

The European Commission proposed new rules Wednesday to require such companies to give consumers more control over their personal data or be fined up to $1.3 million or 2 percent of their annual global turnover.  EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding called the protection of personal data a "fundamental right," but said people do not always feel in control of their information.

Her proposal includes the controversial "right to be forgotten," allowing users to get data about them deleted if there are no legitimate grounds for keeping it.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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