Global Regulations in Content Industries: The Google Privacy Policy as a News Gatekeeping Factor

Global Regulations in Content Industries: The Google Privacy Policy as a News Gatekeeping Factor

Vassiliki Cossiavelou (Youth and Media Lab, University of the Aegean, Mytilene, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/IJITN.2018070102

Abstract

This article explores the role of privacy policies on internet sites as a newly emerging news gatekeeping factor as well as part of the new web world wars between regulators and internet giants' privacy policies, like the one of Google. All these developments are related to both innovation excellence and customer experience, in every aspect of life, business and entertainment, and therefore of the news industry. One of the most important fights of these recent wars is raging between Google and the EU on the field of customers' experience and their privacy protection. The author argues that even the updated news gatekeeping model by ICTs influences should be mapped more precisely in every one of its traditional pillars, focusing on the consumer's data protection. Their potential exploitation by search engines and advertisement industries from one side and the privacy protection claims from international institutions from the other, indicate the need of new variables in the equation of the updated media gatekeeping model, as derived from global regulations on the issue. The reactions of the EU to the actions of Google indicate the momentum of wars in citizen–customer's experience, which is the most reliable key performance indicator in the e/m commerce sector. A convenience sample's data show that the policy adopted by the EU and the one applied by the global content industries would remap the audiences' preferences and therefore the news industries strategies.
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The Google Privacy Policy

Google announced the first edition on privacy policy in 2000. Since then Google changed it more than ten times. The argument of Google by introducing each time a new privacy policy is “to provide, maintain, protect and improve them [the information we collect from all of our services], to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users… to offer you tailored content – like giving you more relevant search results and ads.” Also, the updates of Google Privacy Policy applies to all Google Inc. services and its affiliates, such as Google advertising services but excludes services that have separate privacy policy, such as companies offering relevant advertisements (Google Privacy Policy, 2017). The information collected include ranges of basic elements, i.e. from user’s name, face, language to publicly viewable Google profile, even user’s popular advertisements’, as precondition to take full advantage of the sharing features provided by a Google Service.

The information is collected by: 1. Device information: i.e. Operating System (OS) version, model, unique identifiers, mobile network information, which allows Google to associate the IDs with user’s Google account. 2. Server logs and other technologies, i.e. emails tracking activity, search queries, audiovideo down/upload and thumbnail-sized screenshots of most pages that a user is visiting, telephone calls records (types, date/time/duration/SMS routing of calls etc.), Internet Protocol (IP) information, device data i.e. settings, browser information, cookie that may uniquely identify user’s browser or user’s account Google. 3. Location information: GPS signals from a mobile device, sensor data from user’s device i.e. nearby points of any Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower. 4. Unique application numbers during un/installing and updating them. 5. Local storage on user’s device using mechanisms, such as web browser storage (including HTML 5) and application data temporary storage. 6. Cookies and anonymous IDs, anonymizers collected by owned or offered to Google partners service interacting i.e. advertising services or Google features that may appear on other websites.

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