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Google and its need for private information

A few months ago, Google created a brand new way to get personal data from users of its services. Now, after you create a new account, you need to fill out one more form before you can start to use it.

That form requires you to enter your cell phone number so Google can send you a SMS message with a verification code. Just with that code in hands you will be able to active your new account. Why the heck is he doing that now? According to Google:

Why am I being asked to provide a mobile number?

In an effort to protect our users and combat abuse of our systems, we sometimes ask users to verify their identity via SMS or a phone call before they’re able to create accounts.

We take spam and abuse very seriously, so there are numerous things we do to block spammers and their messages. Sending verification codes to phones is just one way to address this.


Ok, I do agree with Google concerns. Spam and abuse are really big issues. But, does Google have the right to ask for such personal information to fight those threats? I don’t think so. For me this is just another excuse to get personal information from users. And what about people who don’t have cell phones? Come on Google! What will be the next step? To give our home addresses to you so you’ll send a Fedex mail to our places with another confirmation code? If you are so committed on privacy (as you guys like to say in every single speech) you wouldn’t even ask for such personal information.

You’ve just lost another user.

PS: If you want to read the whole “Terms of privacy” about the new SMS method Google is using, here goes the link: http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=114129&hl=en&ctx=ch_CreateAccount&p=youtube#nophone

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