Two major U.S.-based technology giants have issued warnings of changes in their terms of service that have rattled users and privacy groups over the last two days — two more notches against the public images of tech companies that have been in particularly bad lights since the NSA revelations in June of this year.
Facebook’s change was announced October 10 when it revealed it intends to officially remove the search control that allows private users to be unsearchable throughout the network. While the company reported that the privacy control only affects a “single-digit percentage” of its user base, even 1% of its of its 1.1 billion users is 10 million accounts that — once hidden — are now publicly searchable on the network.
Google’s change was revealed on October 11 and details allowing user names, photos, and comments to be included in product endorsements for advertisers across Google’s network. The users must be older than 18 and have the ability to opt out of being included in endorsements — something Facebook already does – according to reports.
Naturally some users are incensed by these sweeping changes to their privacy options with these internet services. And the announcements — while not unexpected — come at a time when global web users are skeptical of government interference with internet companies. Google and Facebook have been two prominent voices in the web community publicly asking the government for the ability to disclose more information about their requests for user data, but many remain concerned for web-based privacy in general.