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Google Is Watching You …

Google copsGoogle’s new privacy policy, which went into effect on March 1st, has been attracting a lot of attention. The Digital Campus crew mentioned it in their February 15 podcast, and there’s been a fair amount of discussion in the Chronicle about the degree to which the new policy will impact education partners and whether students’ privacy will be adequately protected (do be sure to read the short comment threads on some of those articles, as they provide some good points to think about). Enterprise users of Google services will apparently see relatively little impact.

Many of us who use Google services in our academic work, though, aren’t users of Google Apps for Education; we use the standard services instead. What do the changes to the privacy policy mean for us?

For myself personally, I don’t know that it’s going to make a great deal of difference in my daily work. As far as I can tell, Google’s been collecting this information for quite some time; it’s just that now it’s using the information differently. Still, I do plan to do two things in response. I’ll definitely be double-checking my account settings, just to review how I have them set, and will make any appropriate changes. Second, I’ll be having a conversation with my students about Google’s privacy policy, and encouraging them (and showing them how) to check their own settings, and make informed choices about their own use of Google’s services.

What about you? Will your own use of Google’s services be changing in response to the privacy policy changes, or will you continue more or less as usual? Let us know in the comments.

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by khalidalbaih]

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