Google has announced plans to roll out a more streamlined version of its privacy policies next month. The search giant insists the move to simplify its policies is designed to reduce "legalese" and make its policies more accessible to consumers.
"To be clear, we arent changing any of our privacy practices; we want to make our policies more transparent and understandable," Mike Yang, Google's associate general counsel, said in a blog post Friday.
But the move was blasted by privacy advocate Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
"The FTC needs to investigate these changes. This has significant implications for the privacy of Internet users who have previously provided personal information to Google," he said.
The changes are scheduled to be implemented Oct. 3, but Google has already posted a detailed preview
Under the heading, "Information you provide," the new policy states:
"We may combine the information you submit under your account with information from other Google services or third parties in order to provide you with a better experience and to improve the quality of our services. For certain services, we may give you the opportunity to opt out of combining such information."
Yang said some of Google's services have supplementary privacy policies that had previously made it difficult for users to understand and keep track of.
In response to Rotenberg's comments, a spokesperson for Google reiterated the company isn't changing any of its privacy practices.
The news comes at a time of growing concern among both consumers and enterprise users over how their information is shared, protected and displayed on social media specifically and across the Web in general.
Similarly, Facebook's gone through numerous revisions to its privacy policies in response to a variety of complaints including that the site's privacy settings were too hard to manage and keep current.
But for all the streamlining, Yang conceded the firm's privacy policies aren't likely to be a scintillating read. "Our updated privacy policies still might not be your top choice for beach reading (I am, after all, still a lawyer), but hopefully youll find the improvements to be a step in the right direction," he said.