Nine in ten people haven’t read Google’s new privacy policy

Research published today by Big Brother Watch highlights how only 12% of Google service users have read Google’s new privacy policy.

The study, undertaken with YouGov, found while 92% of people online use a Google service on a regular basis, 65% of people were not aware the change comes into effect this week and 47% of people did not know any change was being proposed.

This follows the Article 29 Working Party, a watchdog group of data protection authorities from EU member countries, calling for a pause in the implementation of the new policy to ‘check the possible consequences for the protection of the personal data of citizens.’

We support this position, and believe consumers are not adequately aware of the impact of these changes. This is all to clear as despite being just days away, only 12% of Google service users have read Google’s new privacy policy and less than half (40%) of Google service users think the company should bring it into force as planned on March 1st 2012.

Much more needs to be done to inform consumers what these changes mean, and how they can take control of their personal information before the changes come into effect. The impact of Google’s new policy cannot be understated, but the public are in the dark about what the changes actually mean.

Companies should not be allowed to bury in legal jargon and vague statements how they may monitor what we do online, where we use our phones and even listen to what we say in calls. This change isn’t about Google collecting more data, it’s about letting the company combine what’s in your emails with the videos you watch and the things you search for, and ultimately increase their profits.

If people don’t understand what is happening to their personal information, how can they make an informed choice about using a service? Google is putting advertiser’s interests before user privacy and should not be rushing ahead before the public understand what the changes will mean.

We have written to the UK’s data regulator, the Information Commissioner, asking for an investigation into what the implications will be for UK consumers and whether the change would break UK data protection law.


  1. Christian Fuchs
    1st March 2012

    Blogpost: Google’s “New“ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy: Old Exploitation and User Commodification in a New Ideological Skin: //

  2. Christian Fuchs
    1st March 2012

    Blog post
    Google’s “New“ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy: Old Exploitation and User Commodification in a New Ideological Skin  //

  3. Joe Sample
    1st March 2012

    I have also read that nearly 50% of people have below-average intelligence.

  4. Peter_Aranoid
    1st March 2012

    Simple remedy, don’t use Google or any of it’s other (free to customers, paid for by targetted advertising) services.

    I note from looking at the source code of this website that it uses Piwik to track visitor behaviour – how very Big Brother!!!!

    Can i find information on how you’re using this data in the Privacy Policy on this site? Oh hang on! It doesn’t have one!

    Mr Pot, meet Mr Kettle

  5. Philip Croft
    1st March 2012

    Little by little the almost out of focus prison fence is closing in on us. All these electronic ‘Toys’ in the hands of little girls and boys. I read that the CIA has a huge hidden controlling stake in Google—Look—see, the puppet master’s show their hands.

  6. Google เปลี่ยน privacy policy… แล้วไง? « boomlog
    4th March 2012

    […] 1 มีนาคม 2012 แต่จากผลสำรวจของ Big Brother Watch พบว่ามีเพียง 12% […]

  7. Meganndaniels
    7th March 2012

    Does anyone  know a good email service? I started using gmail when yahoo went all stupid, and now I’m thinking I should get something more reliable to put on resumes and such.

    • Nick
      15th March 2012

      Just put “poke me on Facebook” in the email box.

    • S1543
      12th March 2013


  8. Nick
    15th March 2012

    This article raises a few questions:
    1. 12% read the new privacy policy. This is given without context, I think this is a huge number. How many people read the old ones? I suspect around 0%, about the same number that read itunes or windows terms of service. Why is it better to use the old policies if even fewer people read them? 
    2. 40% of people think google should move on. How many don’t care one way or another? I would think another 55%, with maybe 5% in opposition.
    3. What do people that read the policy think about whether google should move on? Why basing the stats on the opinion of people that have no idea what the new policy is?

  9. Gustard33
    1st April 2012

    So um….  what do googles new privacy policies actual say (when translated into normal human speech) ?

  10. John4
    2nd April 2012

    NO COMMENT. One day every forum will have no comment except what the state allows.

    Protest against draconian sentences for those exercising  FREE SPEECH.
    Protest against state snooping on private individuals to control political protest.
    Protest against commercial organisations  collecting interest profiles. 

  11. Tom Payne
    5th April 2012

    Gee, you Brits are almost as crazy as fucking americans.

  12. Joseph Silveira Asamoah
    2nd June 2012

    I think with regards to reading policies , getting the figures of who read or not is just not enough.It will be in the best interest to ascertain as to why people do not tend to read policies which in my opinion bares down to the length and time it takes (which is scrolling down reading large volumes of technical jargon). My idea is to have privacy policies in video or audio formats as a start.

    NB: I have started a little privacy advocacy and awareness program solely on Facebook.worth taking a look here: //

  13. Big Dickie
    14th June 2012

    God save the queen ===D~

  14. alei
    15th July 2012

    What browser should i use then?

    • S1543
      12th March 2013

      startpage or duckduckgo

  15. [Google] Unione Europea: la nuova policy viola la legge
    11th March 2013

    […] organizzazione britannica ha condotto un istruttivo sondaggio in collaborazione con YouGov da cui risulta che ben 9 persone su […]

  16. Google tramples over Euro data protection law – oradius
    1st April 2013

    […] The only trouble is; not that many people are listening. Here in the UK; only 12 per cent of Google service users have read the new policy; according to results of a YouGov poll carried out on behalf of civil rights campaigner Big Brother Watch. […]

  17. On Google Privacy, Targeted Ads & Consumer Trust | MSLGROUP BLOG
    7th January 2014

    […] changed its privacy policy on March 1, 2012. Actually, you’re probably not – according to Big Brother Watch, only 12% of Google users in the UK have actually read the new […]