The subject of privacy on the web is not typically inherently positive. It’s no secret that every move you make is being watched, companies are listening in on conversations, ads and search results are tailored to your interests, and more. However, despite the stories we’ve grown accustomed to about privacy violations and web tracking scandals, two major players seem to be attempting to clean up their act. Google and Apple have both recently taken steps to improve their privacy features.
While the motivation for doing so may be rooted less in consumer interests and more in the increased levels of accountability that they and other companies have recently faced, this comes as an unexpected bit of positive news in an otherwise bleak subject matter.
Google, like many tech entities, has been scrutinized lately over their use and collection of personal data. One recent example can be seen in a lawsuit brought against Google regarding their undisclosed collection of user data from the engine's ‘incognito’ browsing mode. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled on 3/12/2021 that Google must face the suit, despite the corporation’s best efforts to have the case thrown out.
Advertisers Push Back
Not everyone is happy about the recent increase in privacy features either, even if they do strengthen privacy rules in the long run. With Google introducing features to curb tracking, advertisers have complained that the restrictions will make it more difficult to advertise. According to Bloomberg, however, Google has said it will go ahead with eliminating third-party cookies that help advertisers keep tabs on consumers’ web activity, and won’t employ alternative methods to track individuals.
While stories like this are not exactly bolstering any reputations or inspiring consumer trust, there is a silver lining. As we can see from examples like this most recent case against Google, judges are ruling to put consumer rights first. There is a growing track record of cases being tried when they are efficacious, even against "untouchable" corporations like Google and Apple.
Tracking the trackers
This slowly increasing standard for transparency, along with a growing list of companies being held accountable for their more nefarious online practices, may serve as a warning to other perpetrators to put privacy first before a court rules they must. What do you think about Google increasing privacy all while they undergo a lawsuit over data collection? Is it too little too late, or a welcome change one way or another? Do you think people have become too complacent with companies collecting and using their data? We'd love to hear from you! Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call: (303) 536-5505.