Google Hits Back At David Davis Privacy Claims

Google's head honcho for privacy matters, Peter Fleischer, replied to the scathing article written in the Times by former Tories Shadow Home secretary David Davis with a rather bland but straight to the point post on Google's website.

Fleischer wrote that the search engine giant was "surprised and disappointed" by the "extraordinary attack on Google, riddled with misleading statements". Google's counsel also underlined the fact that Mr Davis did not, at any time, ask Google for comments or check his facts.

He continued saying that “The important work of education is made more difficult by polemicists who abuse the truth,” Fleischer added. “We are happy to debate our privacy record or policies anytime, but we'd rather that debate was based on fact not fiction.”

David Davis was particularly critical of Google's ability to collect user details and use it to generate revenues; Google replied that the vast majority of its revenues is generated by providing users with free services and serving targeted ads depending on what the user has searched for or read.

This, until now, does not involve selling user data or exposing it in any way. Fleischer believes that Google can offer tremendous civic benefit like in the case of Google Flu. Importantly though, moving to Google Health could save the next government a few billion Pounds.

Google's global privacy counsel also said that Google's Street View was not launched until the search giant received formal permission from the Information Commissioner.

David Davis's article came after the Conservative leader, David Cameron, said that a future Tory government is likely to follow the lead of the United States and use existing services such as Google Health or Microsoft HealthVault in order to streamline the NHS national patient record database project.

Our Comments

Mr Davis stood down as an elected MP to provoke a wider public debate over the erosion of civil liberties in the United Kingdom. He was subsequently re-elected in the resulting by election.

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