State AGs Voice Concern With Google's Privacy Changes

Citing concerns that recent changes to Google's privacy policy heighten the risk of identity theft and fraud, 36 Attorneys General have sent the company's chief executive a letter outlining their issues with the new guidelines.

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"We are concerned that Google's new policy may threaten the ability of each user to keep certain aspects of their online history private," said Martha Coakley, Boston's Attorney General. "Today, the threat of identity theft is everywhere and we want to ensure that Google provides appropriate protection by giving consumers meaningful choices in determining how and when they share their personal information."

Google's new policy, which begins March 1, will allow the tech giant to combine users' personal information from services such as web history and YouTube with all other Google products. Existing users are not allowed to opt out of this change without exiting the whole Google system completely.

The Attorneys General have requested a meeting with Larry Page, Google's Chief Executive Officer, as soon as possible.

Google responded in a statement, saying: "Our updated privacy policy will make our privacy practices easier to understand, and it reflects our desire to create a seamless experience for our signed-in users. We’ve undertaken the most extensive notification effort in Google’s history, and we’re continuing to offer choice and control over how people use our services. Of course we are happy to discuss this approach with regulators globally."

The states and territories signing on to this letter are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, and Washington.