(Image credit: Needpix)

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Google recently revealed that it will automatically delete users’ search and location data after a period of 18 months for new users. However, current users still have the option to manually turn on the automatic deletion service. Additionally, users have the choice to automatically delete data after a period of only 3 months. Additional privacy enhancements were developed to make security settings more accessible via the Google search page. 

The new feature rollout comes as part of Apple’s efforts to make privacy and security more consumer-friendly. On Monday, Apple announced that with the release of the iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, users will have to grant permission to apps in order to be tracked. While oftentimes criticized for their lag behind Apple’s privacy measures, Google CEO Sundar Pichai highlighted that Google has not yet “made general-purpose facial recognition commercially available”- unlike some other major companies.

In addition to holding a competitive edge alongside Apple and Facebook, Google have faced pressures from lawmakers in the United States and Europe to improve privacy measures. On June 17, a spyware effort on Google Chrome’s web browser that “attacked users through 32 million downloads of extensions,” highlighting the tech industry’s “failure to protect browsers.” Google stated that it removed over 70 of the malicious add-ons after being alerted by researchers in May.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Google Will Delete Your Data by Default—in 18 Months – Wired – 6/24/2020
At its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple introduced a litany of new security and privacy features that fit into what the company calls its four privacy principles. Today, Google is announcing its own privacy-focused improvements as well, under what Google CEO Sundar Pichai says are “three important principles” of privacy.

How to make sure Google automatically deletes your data on a regular basis – Vox – 6/24/2020
The company announced on Wednesday that auto-delete will be the default setting for user account activity settings. That said, this “default” setting only applies to new accounts or existing accounts that now turn on data retention after having it disabled.

Google follows Apple with a privacy overhaul, auto-deleting user data – Yahoo Finance – 6/24/2020
For new accounts, if you turn on location history, locations will be deleted after 18 months. Similarly, web browsing and app activity will also be deleted automatically and continuously after 18 months by default. For YouTube history, history will be deleted after 36 months. Users will still be able to manually delete any history they want to, and users can also change the settings to never delete or delete after three months.

Google’s Promise to Delete Your Data Has a Major Loophole – Gizmodo – 6/25/2020
Google’s push to become a privacy-positive company over the past year has been, depending on how you look at it, an act of genuine benevolence, a brilliant marketing decision, or straight-up bullsh*t. So when Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the company’s latest moves in the privacy-protecting space on Twitter yesterday, the biggest surprise—at least to me—was the lack of skepticism I was seeing from other reporters in the privacy and policy spaces.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Shoshana Wodinsky on Twitter, 6/25/2020: after doing a day’s worth of research on the google-data-deletion news that dropped yesterday, a few things became v clear: > it doesn’t actually delete anything of substance > it’ll make tracking *worse* > every tech outlet (except ours) is bad/wrong https://t.co/HgEbcUXuh7

Matt Brittin on Twitter, 6/25/2020: We know that your privacy is core to your trust in us. That’s why we’re starting to auto-delete new users’ data by default, starting today. If you’ve previously turned on your settings, you’ll need to make the change yourself. You can do that here https://t.co/bwogh8c13B https://t.co/QarFlWlNSg

Jason Kint on Twitter, 6/25/2020: And for kicks, I’ll throw in this tweet to blog post from none other than the ceo of google trying to also gaslight… after Apple actually iterated in real privacy and data protection improvements yesterday which will hurt Google’s surveillance business. https://t.co/a9tJPkV3p1

Yonca Dervisoglu on Twitter, 6/25/2020: Privacy controls should be easy to find and easy to use. The newest version of @Google’s Privacy Checkup proactively suggests relevant privacy settings for you to review. -> https://t.co/5Y1D5hLqQp

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