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Google must review privacy policy, EU data regulators rule


European regulators have warned that the scope of Google’s new consolidated privacy policy is “too large” and users must be given greater control over their data. France and Italy are now set to gently grill Google over the European legal fire should it fail to change its merged privacy policy in the region. Other EU member states‘ privacy regulators are also less than pleased with the search giant.

European data protection and privacy regulators have warned Google that its new privacy policy shows legal “irregularities” and may not be “in compliance” with European law, more than a year after the company merged 60 individual policies into one single document.

Speaking at a press conference in Paris, representatives from the French data protection authority charged with the investigation, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL), said that users were locked in to Google’s new rules and must be given the choice to opt-out of the controversial privacy policy.

The regulators warned Google that the scope of its new privacy policy is “too wide,” and the firm should give users greater control of their own data.

The CNIL, known within privacy and data protection circles as an aggressive and determined agency, also published a dozen “recommendations.” Members of the Article 29 Working Party, a group of data protection officials from each member states, said the 27 European authorities have “unanimously adopted the findings of the audit.”

Included in the recommendations, the CNIL suggested Google should strengthen the consent sought for combining data for the purposes of service improvement and advertising; provide a centralized opt-out solution; and adapt the combination rules to distinguish between security and advertising.

Google was also warned for not clarifying how long it stores user data for, otherwise known as data retention.

In a press release issued Thursday, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL) said that following a year-long investigation, Google’s data collection policies are in breach of French data protection and privacy laws.

It comes more than half a year after European data protection and privacy regulators warned the search engine that its new privacy policy shows legal “irregularities” and may not be “in compliance” with European law.

Google said last year the privacy policy merger would make its products better, enhance the experience for users, while making advertisements more targeted allowing more specific and relevant ads for users. Privacy activists warned that it would be easier for Google and its advertisers to determine who was who, despite the anonymization, and warned of profiling.

Should the search giant fail to comply after the imposed three-month deadline, Google will face a fine of up to €150,000 ($198,000) and a second fine of up to €300,000 ($397,000) if the company fails to act.

But other data protection regulators around Europe, including the U.K. (which can serve a maximum £500,000 ($758,000) fine against a company), the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Spain are mulling over similar actions, the CNIL said.

Financial reprimands may not be enough for Google to change its mind. The two fines combined remains small change to Google. France’s two fines alone would take the company less than 15 minutes to regenerate in revenue.

The search company continues to state that its privacy policy respects European law.

Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to like this post.

Source: Associated Press


3 comments on “Google must review privacy policy, EU data regulators rule

  1. Pingback: Further action for Google over Wi-Fi data collection | Technology

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  3. elis
    July 20, 2013

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