Privacy Policies: You know they’re there (hopefully), you know what they’re basically trying to convey to you, yet most of us never even read them besides a one-time skim to make sure some new service isn’t trying to pull one over on us.
Probably one of the best examples of humor within a legal disclosure, it appears that Google is desperately trying to shed the ever-growing “Big Brother” image they have acquired over the years:
|Policy Legal Jargon (source)||English Translation|
|Most of the personally identifying information we collect is what you tell us about yourself. For example, certain of our products and services allow you to interact and share personal information and data with others. You choose what you want to share and how you want to share it.||We only have what you tell us in the first place. If you don’t want us to know your name, then don’t tell us. Or you can call yourself ‘John Doe’, and we wouldn’t know any better…Until we compare it with your Address Book entry, that is.|
|Sometimes, we record your phone number. We record your phone number when you send it to us; ask us to remember it; or make a call or send a text message or SMS to or from Google. If you ask us to remember your phone number, we will associate your phone number with your Google Account, or, if you do not have a Google Account, with some other similar account ID.||We know your phone number. If we don’t know it, don’t worry – we’ll get it sooner or later. Big Brother is watching you, and has a very good memory.|
|We often generate this account ID based on your device and hardware IDs, so if you change your device or hardware, you will have to re-associate this new device or hardware with your account before we can authenticate you.||Oh yeah – and we “associate” your phone number with your mobile device’s hardware, too. And if you change it, guess what? Gonna need those digits again. You can’t escape. Give in.|
|Most of the other information we collect for mobile, such as your device and hardware IDs and device type, the request type, your carrier, your carrier user ID, the content of your request, and basic usage stats about your device and use of Google’s products and services does not by itself identify you to Google, though it may be unique or consist of or contain information that you consider personal.||We know everything about both you and your device. We may not necessarily use it, but its there if we want/need it. Or if the government or a similar body needs it. By the way, nice pictures form that party last night, mind if I borrow them? PSYCHE! Already have them, just messing with you.|
|If you use location-enabled products and services, such as Google Maps for mobile, you may be sending us location information. This information may reveal your actual location, such as GPS data, or it may not, such as when you submit a partial address to look at a map of the area.||We know you where are, too. And where you’ve been. Your wife might get mad if she knows you were at the strip club last night, wouldn’t she? Good thing she uses Google Maps – we have her phone number too!|
|If you use Google Latitude on a mobile device, in addition to other information, we collect battery life information and tie it to your Google Account.||Oh, it gets better – we even know when we’ll stop knowing your current location! Better hurry and call for help – OH WAIT!|
|Certain of our products and services allow you to download and/or personalize the content you receive from us. For these products and services, we will record information about your downloads and preferences, along with any information you provide yourself (such as a list of your stocks to personalize your stock listings). If the product or service requires you to log in with a Google Account, this information will be associated with your Google Account.||We know who you own stock in, what colors you prefer, how bad your eyes are (judging from your font size preferences), and just what you’ve been downloading. And since your Google product requires a Google account and email address, we can easily associate everything with you. Oh, and your next period starts in 3…2…1…|
|If you use Google to transcode, or format, non-mobile pages to display properly on your device, we need to send your request to Google’s servers for formatting. That means that we will record these requests, which are generally for material beyond Google’s sites.||Need your bank account page formatted for your device? Sure, we can do that! And while we’re formatting it, lets record all those juicy details too, shall we? Now we can know just how bad the recession is by comparing your bank account balance to everyone else’s, and while we’re at it lets record that SSN, too. Isn’t technology great?!|
|For products and services with voice recognition capabilities, we collect and store a copy of the voice commands you make to the product or service. To improve processing of your voice commands, we may also continuously record in temporary memory a few seconds of ambient background noise. This recording stays only temporarily on the device and is not sent to Google.||We know what you sound like. Ever seen the movie Scream where the villain had the voice box? Yeah, we could do that, and using your camera phone’s pictures we could make up one of our agents to look like you, and since we have your SSN from formatting your bank account page we can clone you! Even better, when you meet your clone, off to the mental hospital you go! Goodbye, real you!|
|We use your information to process and personalize your requests. We also use the information for support, to develop new features, and to improve the overall quality of Google’s products and services. We may also use the information to show you a history of your activity, to provide you with statistics about you or your use of our product or service, or to provide you with a better user experience. If you purchase something through Google’s products and services, we may also use your information to bill you and to handle billing disputes.||Just to top things off as we continue to know everything about you. This is also a promise that we’ll continue to invade your privacy with other “innovative” products, and we’ll automatically associate your existing information with the new product you use. You can’t escape. They never do. If you try, we’ll find you.|
Well, enough of that. In case you’re wondering where I’m getting this from, look here for the whole thing, although I covered the majority of it.
This post would be too long if I were to cover Apple too, so I’ll stop at Google Maps for today.
I’m honestly not the “tin foil hat” type, but some of the stuff in this policy really worries me, and I hope others are equally concerned. Its amazing what you blindly agree to these days.