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What is Google taking when it takes our data?

The internet is having one of its periodic freak-outs about a privacy policy change. Gawker posted a ridiculous, trolling article, which made its way onto Tumblr, and now is showing up in the Washington Post and on Democracy Now. The sentence causing all the concern is:

In a radical privacy policy shift, Google announced today that it will begin tracking users across all services—email, Search, YouTube and more—sharing information with no option to opt out. The change was announced in a blog post today, and will go into effect March 1.

Now, as Forbes points out, this is bollocks. This is not a policy shift at all, still less a radical one – tracking users across services has been in Google’s privacy policy since 2005. What I’m trying to figure out, though, is why people are freaking out over this. A couple of possibilities occur to me: Read more↴