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Google Changes Its Privacy Policy: Another Reminder To Use Offshore Email

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If you’re like almost every single Internet user on the planet, you probably use Google for something. Maybe Gmail, maybe Google search, maybe Google Docs, maybe Google Voice… or maybe all of the above.

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Google recently began circulating a new privacy policy that will take place effective March 1, 2012. With so many services ranging from a new social network to an online office platform, Google has consolidated all of its privacy policies into one. And it’s a good reminder of what’s at stake.

Anytime you perform a Google search, for example, it’s logged. Your computer’s IP address and cookie (unique identifiers that can essentially pinpoint you and your location) are also included, so your computer’s entire search history is archived.

When you receive an email through Gmail, or a voicemail on the Google Voice service, it’s archived on their servers. Even if you delete the messages, there’s still a copy on Google’s servers. The marginal cost of digital storage is so ridiculously cheap that they have little reason to delete this data.

Then, of course, there are all the government requests for user data. In the first half of 2011, the US government requested information on over 11,000 Google accounts. Google complied with a full 93% of those requests. Your account might have been one of them, and you would never know.