Google Fiber says it won’t mine users’ data — but it could

As an “edge provider” whose business hinges on what happens once customers get on the web, Google Inc. faces fresh competition from cable and telecommunications giants free to sell consumer data to advertisers.

But as Google Fiber — the niche subsidiary launched in Kansas City five years ago — shunning the data-for-dollars game might mean leaving money on the table.

Google isn’t saying much. The company recently issued a two-sentence statement: “Google Fiber values our users’ privacy. We have no plans to make changes to our current privacy policies.”

The privacy policy set by Google Fiber for its internet service customers, one that it changed barely a year ago, says the company doesn’t share information outside the company “except in the circumstances (such as with your consent, with domain administrators, for external processing and for legal reasons) as more fully set out in the Google Privacy Policy.” That Google Inc. policy, modified last month, says that “we and our partners use various technologies to collect and store information when you visit a Google service.”

Google also wrote to the Federal Communications Commission in October arguing that “implied consent” — the idea that data can be shared unless consumers go out of their way to forbid it — “is appropriate. … This model is familiar to consumers, has worked well for them for many years, and contributed to today’s thriving, innovative, and free Internet.”

Near the end of the Barack Obama years, the FCC moved to stop ISPs from warehousing user data for possible sale. Then, before those rules took effect, Congress and President Donald Trump wiped the limits away.

Read more: Kansas City Star


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