Google’s new “Good to Know” Campaign was launched on Tuesday, providing users with easy to use tips and advice on online security, help in understanding the data users share, and tools they can use to manage their data. Topics covered include phishing, malware, cookies and personal identity protection. Interestingly, Google also trys to explain how search results can be tailored more individually if it knows about past activity. Google also taylors online ads based on personal data the tech giant collects, to more closely target the people likely to buy the products and services offered.
Google’s own history of personal data collection and subsequent user privacy disclosures calls into question the reason behind the media ad blitz and website. Google was taken to task in 2010 by the Federal Trade Commission when it exposed users personal information when a new social service called Buzz debuted. According to Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, the ad campaign is “really just a PR offensive to help dim the increased scrutiny of Google’s privacy practices.” (Huffington Post online.)
Is Google really concerned with educating the public regarding protection of personal information and online privacy? Or is it just covering the bases in regards to its own past lapses?