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Protect Your Privacy: EFF Explains How To Opt Out Of Google’s Shared Endorsements

October 17, 2013 by  

This post, written by activist Adi Kamdar, originally appeared on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website on Oct. 17.

Google recently announced an update to its Terms of Service, focused on displaying your profile name and photo next to advertisements and reviews. The new feature, which goes into effect on November 11, is called Shared Endorsements and will allow you to share your recommendations (whether a +1 on Google Play or a restaurant rating on Google Maps) with your connections.

For example, if your friend searches “Indian food” and an advertisement shows up for a local restaurant you’ve rated, your profile picture, name, and review might show up alongside it. Many users will take issue with their likeness used to promote sponsored links without their explicit consent—as Facebook knows all too well. Even more users rightfully have concerns with the fact that old comments posted with one online landscape in mind are now being reused in a completely different manner and placed before a completely different audience.

A crucial component of privacy is control, and being able to control how your information is used is an important user right. Thankfully, Google has made it very simple to opt out of Shared Endorsements. Here’s how:

Step 1: Go To Your Settings

Go to the Shared Endorsements setting page. You can find this page by going to Google Plus and clicking “Settings” in the toolbar on the left. Next to “Shared Endorsements,” click “Edit.”

Step 2: Uncheck The Box

Scroll down and make sure the box is unchecked. Once it is unchecked, click “Save.”

That’s it! If you follow these two steps, you’ll have successfully opted out of Google’s Shared Endorsements feature.

(If you have several Google accounts, or if you manage various Google Plus pages, you will need to repeat these steps for each of them.)

Electronic Frontier Foundation

From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990—well before the Internet was on most people's radar—and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights. https://www.eff.org/

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