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The Digital Skeptic: Google Isn't Answering on Privacy

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You'd figure that by now, Google (GOOG) would know if it were peeking at all our stuff or not. But, sadly, it doesn't.

I am one of the tiny fraction of the billions of Google users who actually pays to use Google. My shop is among the 4 million or so firms forking over $5 per user per month for access to Google Apps for Business.

For my firm that adds up to roughly $600 a year. For that, I get Google's never-ending slate of business services, including Docs, Speadsheets and, starting last week, the clearly doomed Google Drive. (That's the online data syncing and back-up service, an attempt to compete with other bound-for-the-woodshed syncing services such as Dropbox, Microsoft (MSFT) SkyDrive and many, many others.)

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As a paying customer, I get things most don't: an 800 number and a PIN ID that gives me the right to pick up the phone and say, "Mountain View, we have a problem."

And darned if Google doesn't speak right back.

Sure, it's not Larry or Sergey talking. Bright, earnest call-in center folks with names such as Fergal from Ireland and Markku from Montreal usually answer my questions. No question, Google gets a bad rap for bad service -- if you pay, Google is a cordial and professional service provider and much better than, say, Microsoft, Dell (DELL) or most other enterprise tech vendors.

But for my current problem, mere professionalism doesn't seem to be an answer.

Starting last week, I began several long conversations with Google about the digital 800-pound gorilla in the room. After five-plus years of happily running a strictly cloud-based Google Apps business, revelations about lost data, dubious terms of service and frankly creepy acts by Google have me spooked.

I wanted to know: "Is Google looking at my stuff?"

The official non-answers I get -- not once, but over and over -- are emails such as "I will continue to investigate the issue."

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