Software giant Google feels there is no need for governments to regulate online privacy policies.
A policy manager for Google Canada told the House of Commons that it’s too difficult to determine default positions for such policies. Why? Because, Google argues, the online world evolves too rapidly to impose concrete regulations. Those regulations would simply not stand the test of time.
Google’s Colin McKay suggests that people have become so aware of privacy that they can handle themselves; that they know when and when not to use apps based on how comfortable they are with sharing information.
However, most would argue the opposite. Consumers struggle to understand their privacy rights even with major sites like Facebook. And without solid technology literacy, most would never realize just how closely they are being monitored online—by companies like Google. A lot of people browsing the web haven’t the slightest clue about data collection.
Google affirms it is not “certainly not Big Brother.” The company says Canadians can rest assured that data collected isn’t used to develop individual profiles. And that is likely true—but that data is still being used for a vast array of other purposes, many of which Canadians would likely not be comfortable with if they knew.
To his credit, Colin McKay is a former member of the federal privacy commissioner’s office. So he knows the rules. But he’s now an employee of Google. So one must assume that is where his interests lie.
Commissioner Jennifer Stoddat has been adamantly keeping a watchful eye on Google for years now. And US courts have been trying to keep the company’s monopolistic search engine and online advertising reign in check as well.
New Democrat MP Chairmaine Borg says Canadians are largely unaware of the large volumes of information that search engines and social media sites collect from them—a belief opposite of Google’s.
But we can’t forget that data collection is something helps make services free. Can you imagine paying per Google search?