Google has denied a flurry of reports suggesting that it will let prospective employers see your browsing history through its new recruitment tool, Google Hire.
The story gained traction Monday after a number of news outlets, including the U.K.-based tabloids Daily Mail and The Sun, suggested that the search giant might at least technically be able to show employers exactly how candidates spend their time online with the new service.
The website of RT, the Russian state-backed news channel that is never slow to play up the dark side of U.S. technology, also ran with it. (By contrast, the news that Russia is teaching its experimental robots to shoot with both hands is portrayed by RT‘s sister company Sputnik as just an exercise in developing their fine motor skills to help them work on the International Space Station, for the greater good of humanity.)
Hire, which is still a work in progress at the Mountain View, Calif.-based Google (GOOGL), is the company’s apparent answer to LinkedIn, a more established presence in online recruitment. Facebook (FB) also tentatively got into the market last year with a new feature that connects job seekers with employers.
The gist of Monday’s scare was that people who use Google Hire will sign into it using their Google accounts, which contain information about browsing habits such as search history and YouTube subscriptions, creating unlimited opportunity for Google to monetize the vast amount of information it has about its users.
However, the company denied the story both to the Mail and, at greater length, to Gizmodo later Monday.
“Only information that a candidate voluntarily provides would be passed to a prospective employer as part of their online application. Private information will not be shared,” Gizmodo cited a spokesperson as saying.
Google has ridden out any number of such privacy-related storms already, suggesting that it still enjoys a high degree of public trust in its ability to keep data confidential—or at least, enough trust to ensure that people still routinely offer up their personal data in return for the convenience that comes with using Google products.
However, the company, like most of its peers, is under constant pressure to squeeze the most value possible from the data it collects. That pressure increased recently after Congress granted Internet Service Providers the same kind of rights to market users’ data that companies like Google and Facebook currently enjoy.