Tech: IT Easy - Privacy is the cost of 'free'

Today, March 1, Google implemented a major change to their privacy policy. In effect, the company merged over 60 separate privacy policies across its various properties into one mega policy. With this single privacy policy tied to your user profile, Google can refine your search results and better target ads to you.

Doesn't sound so sinister does it? Yet, we have reason to take note, be cautious and maybe, be a little bit scared.

Google is huge. It's not just Google Search and GMail. Google has also integrated Calendar and Contacts, YouTube, Picasa, Wallet, Maps, Latitude, Chrome and Google Docs. All your information across all of these sites, and others, is now fodder for Google to vet, identify key words and sell data to advertisers. Your name, email address and personal content, like credit card numbers, will remain private. But your 'aggregated data', including your browsing history, cookies, IP address, machine model, search history and other details about your habits, will be up for sale by Google.

Have an Android phone? Your location, your number and possibly your contacts will become part of that accessible data. Google, third-party advertisers or the government, pending a court order, can access your 'aggregated data'. And, let's not even think about hackers.

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