Daily Debrief: Navigating Chrome's privacy pitfalls

Tech Industry
[ Background Music ] >> This didn't take long. One day into Chrome's young existence and already serious privacy questions are being asked. Welcome to the CNET News, Daily Debrief, I'm Charlie Cooper here with my colleague, Ina Fried. Ina, you have a scoop up this afternoon. The basic gist, if you're not careful, with your privacy settings, Google has the right to log every key stroke that you type into the browser's address bar, what's going on? >> Well, I mean, it's a little bit of a technical trade off here. In order to get the suggestions, Google, you know, makes the case that it needs to have that information on it's servers, but they're keeping it on their servers so, anything you type into that omni bar it's gonna keep a log of, along with your IP address. So, creating a rich new store of personal data living on Google servers. >> That's great if you Google, but what happens if do no evil? >> Yeah, well, there are a ways to keep them from doing evil just to use. So, if you're an individual that's concerned about this, there's a couple of ways. If you turn off the autosuggest feature, the information will be stored or even sent to Google. Also, if Google is not your search provider, the information won't be sent to Google. So, if you are an individual who is concerned about this, there are definitely things you can do. The broader question of what is that mean for Google to have yet more personal information, yet more experience around, where does everyone go on the internet? It's concerning, I imagine, to privacy folks, it's also I imagine another big threat to Microsoft. Google already has weighed in more data than Microsoft when it comes to web search. And this is another story of data that could really help them again in their business built on cataloging all the world's information. >> I -- it's a great repository of data from a Google centric point of view. There is something there that they can really sell to advertisers. Did they give you an indication on how much of the data they plan to keep and for how long? >> I don't know for how long. They are gonna keep about two percent of the data. So, you know, enough to give them a really good sample not everything you're searching but, you know, it is gonna be tied with the IP address which surprised me a little, that they'd want to do that, I mean, some of that may help them make better suggestions. I mean, understanding everywhere you've been can provide some useful services, but again you know, that's not the cost of having someone with the record of everywhere you've been or in this case you don't even have to go there 'cause it's before you had entered. So, you think about going to a bad site and they've got a record of it. >> You spoke with Google when you raised this scenario, how did they respond? >> Well, I mean, there are ways around this and that's, you know certainly, what they're pointed to look. If you don't want them to have the information on their servers, turn off the autosuggest feature. Now that's it, that's one of the big selling points is this omni box but certainly there is a way around it. >> So, individual responsibility. You've also written about separate concerns, raise and connection with the end user license agreement, what's going on over there? >> So this has to do not with the privacy policy but with the business terms that surround it. And Google has made some movement on this but initially when you downloaded it, for anyone that's downloaded it, you agreed to a set of terms, you know, I've run clicks and hits okay, one those terms said that Google had a perpetual and irrevocable license to use the content. You own your copyrighted content, but they have a perpetual and irrevocable license to use it. They've said now that they were just copying some license in terms from some other products, didn't make as much sense with the browser and they'll be changing that. They are to reserve the right to put ads wherever they want. There aren't, to date, ads just in the browser. In fact, one of the things that they tout is how clean the interface is, but they hold the right to do so. Imagine saying ad on that page when you open a new tab, right now it shows you the nine places I think that you visited most recently or most often with little thumbnails, but they could easily trade one of those for an ad. >> I understand from Google's perspective why they [inaudible] of that way and some of the other issues in connection to Chrome, would you get the feeling that perhaps they've rushed this thing out without taking into account all of the attendant privacy concerns that inevitably are gonna be raised in connection with a new browser? >> Definitely, and I think you know, you have business people tending to write these things and, you know, they wanna make sure that basically in general what they wanna make sure is that whenever they wanna do they have it written themselves out of being able to do, that makes a tough to balance the privacy issues. >> Great stuff. You can read more by checking out in this piece, it's up on our pages now. Ina, thanks a lot. [Background music] On behalf of Ina Fried, I'm Charlie Cooper.

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