Google erodes corporate privacy rights

Are the search engines are becoming fiefdoms in their own right, unrestrained by the notion of corporate responsibility? Corporate privacy may need protecting a law at some point in the future.

Google have just changed the terms of use for Google analytics. More about the change below. But first my rant…

Isn’t it about time small companies started getting similar rights online to those of individuals? I don’t use Google Analytics much – because I worry about giving my sales data to the very company that changes the cost of my traffic based on a variety of undefined metrics. The same company who’s directors have a moral obligation to maximize the revenue for their shareholders. Not mine.

I do use Google Analytics on Dixonjones.com though. Let’s face it, until a few weeks ago it was the best free analytics tool in the market. So I looked at my mediocre stats just now (well… I haven’t actually LOOKED yet…) I saw the following “stick em up” message as I logged in:
Google Analytics Data Sharing Settings
In order to improve your experience with Google products, Google Analytics is updating its data sharing policy. You now have the ability to share your Analytics data with other Google services. This will improve integration, enable additional features in Google’s advertising services (including Google Analytics, AdWords and AdSense) and improve your experience with these products.
Press “Accept” to enable data sharing between Google Analytics and other Google services or for additional options, choose “More data sharing options”.
BIG ACCEPT BUTTON
Remind me later | More data sharing options | Do not share data | Learn more
Now it looks to me like they have just made me accept allowing Google the RIGHT to charge me more for traffic based on what they know about my site if they should so desire.
Doesn’t it mean that to you?
So – I could of course – reject the notion, but Google has been built on offering you something you want, in exchange for giving up something you don’t worry about too much. But every time you give something up, we really can’t mentally recall the inter-relationships between all of the things we have agreed to. Like those Adwords terms of use? Those Google Docs terms of use? and more recently Google Health… where they are giving you access to YOUR OWN medical records. Now I don’t mean to sound like a paranoid android here but… OK. I do mean to sound like a paranoid android. This is getting absurd. Viacom needs to spend millions defending their business model, and individuals have the protection of governments at least in theory in the UK but smaller companies really don’t have anywhere to turn, nor do they have the will to even try.
Ironically, Google feels justified to demand privacy laws of the US government for individuals at the very same time that it erodes the rights of businesses on the web.
In the UK we assume that the monopoly laws that protect us apply in other parts of the world. They don’t. In the US, the “right” way to do business is to be seen to entirely demolish your competition until you are the last man standing. Every other website on the planet apart from Google is going to eventually have to decide… are you with Google or against Google? It’s going to be hard to stand against something that large. It will be worse than not paying taxes.