Google tightens privacy settings for new users

Google has begun auto-deleting new users’ search data and location history on a rolling 18-month basis, CEO Sundar Pichai announced. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 25 June 2020

Google tightens privacy settings for new users

  • The tweak was introduced on Wednesday and is the latest attempt by a big online firm to boost public trust
  • Pichai said: “Privacy is at the heart of everything we do”

DUBAI: Google has begun auto-deleting new users’ search data and location history on a rolling 18-month basis, CEO Sundar Pichai announced, as the tech giant moves to tighten privacy settings.
The tweak was introduced on Wednesday and is the latest attempt by a big online firm to boost public trust after hefty fines were levied against Facebook and Google for privacy violations in recent years.
“We believe that products should keep your information for only as long as it’s useful and helpful to you,” Pichai said in a blog post, adding that the changes are designed to “keep less data by default.”
When creating a new Google account, “your activity data will be automatically and continuously deleted after 18 months, rather than kept until you choose to delete it,” he said.
Current users can already opt in to auto-delete their data every three or 18 months — a setting that has not changed, although existing users will be reminded of the option to do so.
Smartphone location technology has been in the spotlight as governments study or implement app-based initiatives to prevent the spread of coronavirus, despite concerns over privacy and civil liberties.
Pichai, also head of Google’s parent company Alphabet, said: “Privacy is at the heart of everything we do.”
He detailed other changes, including easier access to privacy settings within apps and to the more secure “incognito” mode.
New users of Google’s subsidiary YouTube will also have their search data auto-deleted after 36 months, Pichai said.


TWITTER POLL: People remain divided on whether to fly amid coronavirus pandemic

Updated 05 July 2020

TWITTER POLL: People remain divided on whether to fly amid coronavirus pandemic

  • People remain split over whether they intend to fly
  • Some airlines have been operating but with strict health and safety measures

DUBAI: Many airlines have started commercial flights again, but an Arab News Twitter poll revealed that people remain split on whether they are prepared to get on board.

Of the 572 people who took part in the two-day poll, just over 23 percent said there was no way they would even consider flying again, despite assurances from airlines that all precautions against the coronavirus were being taken.

Dubai’s Emirates airline is among those that have reintroduced some flights – as has Abu Dhabi’s Etihad – but both are operating strict health and safety regulations.

And while some airlines and countries might be open for business, in many cases this is still dependent on individual people testing negative for COVID-19 tests before they are allowed to travel.

 

 

That has not put off more than 38 percent of those who responded to the poll saying they were off on their holidays, while nearly the same amount said they would wait for a while before traveling.

Now take our new poll: