lexipixel - 1:29 am on Feb 9, 2012 (gmt 0)
It's more likely being done to evade government privacy crackdowns.
If the surfer is getting paid even $1.00 by Google, I believe that means the user has entered a contract to allow the data collection. This will make a much better legal argument for Google than "we provide them with search services" or "we provide them with mapping/browsing/mobile OS/etc software at no cost in exchange for allowing us to collect, store and market their data".
IAMNAL, but I believe the basic precept of contract law is that in order for a contract to be put into force, the parties must formalize the terms of the agreement and exchange something of value.
In other, but apparently related news.... since Google's Screenwise has partnered with "Knowledge Networks" to do these things..
GfK acquires Knowledge Networks
Nuremberg, December 9, 2011 – GfK will be acquiring 100% ownership of Knowledge Networks Inc., a leading provider of digital research solutions in the US. Through the acquisition, GfK demonstrates its commitment to drive growth, in the US and globally, by providing the highest quality research solutions, tailored to the new realities of the digital age....
"GfK" is: GfK SE Data Services, Nordwestring 101, Nuernberg, DE, --- (the "DE" stands for Deutschland a.k.a. Germany, not Delaware).