Google Quiet on Social Network Privacy
Facebook’s argument for the policy change is one that’s likely to apply to Google as well, particularly with regards to the Google+ social network. As well as violating privacy rights for the individual user themselves, Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan pointed out, third-party access also violates the privacy of that user’s friends, who will have set their own content visibility levels based on assumptions about who will be viewing it.
However, Google’s current terms & conditions - recently modified to pull together policies for around sixty products into one document - makes no mention of third-party access. That wasn’t always the case; in the previous version, dated 2007 and superseded this year, Google highlighted that password security was the responsibility of the individual user:
“You agree and understand that you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of passwords associated with any account you use to access the Services. Accordingly, you agree that you will be solely responsible to Google for all activities that occur under your account. If you become aware of any unauthorised use of your password or of your account, you agree to notify Google immediately”
Nonetheless, no mention - in either new or old versions - to situations of being coerced into handing over a password by a potential employer is given. In fact, it appears the possibility did not occur to it (or seem important enough to mention) when the company drafted the policies.