Privacy campaigners have been alarmed at reports that following the success of Google Street View, the company may soon be launching FrontRoom View®
'Individual privacy will always be a priority' claims a company PR statement, which somewhat belies its insistence that in addition to personal details, accounts must also be linked to phone numbers.
Lobbyist Sumee Chakrabarti of Privacy Agenda worries that people are blindly undermining their own privacy. "Because your profile is a valuable commodity, Google Analytics can flog it to rumanian spammers, nigerian conmen and seemingly every last viagra dealer on the planet. If that's irritating, it's tough because all too often it's users handing them the keys to the kingdom".
She quotes an Equality & Human Rights Commission report which slammed UK's existing approach to protection of information privacy as 'fundamentally flawed'. She says "floored would be more apt. That's pretty much where Google think privacy belongs".
The internet giant's data harvesting continues unabated. Sophisticated algorithms log chat sessions and how contacts are prioritised - girlfriend listed above wife?
Their geeks often deduce personality leanings from address fields (email@example.com)
Psychologist and former FBI profiler Jim Douglas, who initially advised Google on how to elicit sensitive information from naïve users without them realising, says "we helped them collect so much data the sales team joke they're running out of malware syndicates to sell it to".
If occasional regulation-savvy users baulk at the neverending list of *required fields and squeak about privacy laws, G men have come up with a simple getaround - they read through emails and hoover up info that way. So, once they spot it's great aunt minnie's 50th wedding anniversary next week, Gmail can helpfully flood your browser with ads for skydiving honeymoon weekends in Croatia, a must for sparky old dears in a care home.