Ask Leo: Does Google Know Everything About You?

does google know everything about you

By Leo Notenboom

Does Google’s new privacy policy mean they know everything about me?

If I use an email account based on a pseudonym on Google Groups, will Google match that with my real name and compromise my secrecy? If so, would creating a new pseudonym fool Google? Or is the bottom line of their privacy policy such that anyone using any account via a particular IP address runs the risk of being identified?

I’ve received several questions about Google’s privacy policy “change” of a few weeks ago.

I’ll certainly admit that I’ve not read it in excruciating detail, but it’s my understanding that little has changed significantly in Google’s privacy policies. The new policy simply brings all of the separate policies that they had set up for all of their separate services before under one umbrella.

Your concern about your anonymity actually transcends these policies, whether they change or not.

It’s my belief that there are really two questions at play here.

Can Google tell who you really are?

My sense is yes.

Google is dealing with so much information on the web and with so many different people in so many different ways that I can’t see how they can’t have collected something, somehow, that ties your pseudonym to something else that might identify the real you.

The real question is do they care?

My sense is not just no, but hell no!

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This post is excerpted with Leo’s permission from his blog.

Leo Notenboom

Leo A. Notenboom is the owner of Puget Sound Software, LLC and the Leo in Ask Leo!. Leo has been in the personal computer and software industry since 1979, as a software engineer, a manager of software engineers, and as a consultant. In 1983 Leo joined what was then a medium sized local company called Microsoft and spent the next 18 years in a wide variety of groups working on a wide variety of software. If you're running Microsoft Windows, if you've used a Microsoft development tool or Microsoft Money, or if you've ever purchased a ticket through Expedia, there's a good chance you've been touched by some of his work. And of course, since 2003, Leo has been answering your tech questions on Ask Leo!

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