Europe Tells Google to Fix its Privacy Policy

Privacy watchdogs threaten sanctions unless Google complies.

Privacy regulators in three more European countries—the UK, Germany and Italy—have joined Spain and France in asking Google to modify its privacy policies. They say that Google's new policy, introduced more than a year ago, is too vague.

The Guardian's Charles Arthur reported, "Privacy watchdogs in the UK, Germany and Italy have told Google to rewrite its privacy policy in Europe or face legal sanctions, 15 months after the search giant unilaterally altered them to unify data collection. The move follows similar complaints to the US company last month from the equivalent organisations in France and Spain, and ratchets up the attention over its handling of the huge amounts of personal data that it collects from users every day."

PCWorld's Peter Sayer added, "Users must be clearly informed about the purposes for which Google is processing their data, [Germany's Johannes] Caspar said in a statement Thursday. Google's new privacy policy is too vague about the nature, scope and purpose of its data processing, allowing the company to do what it wishes, he said. The company must set clear limits on what it will do with users' data, and allow users to decide how the company merges and analyzes data concerning them obtained from different Google services."

PCMag's Chloe Albanesius noted, "At issue is an update to Google's privacy policy that went into effect on March 1, 2012. The revamp consolidated 70 or so privacy policies across Google's products down to one. But with this change, Google also switched to one profile for users across all services rather than separate logins for offerings like YouTube, Search, and Blogger."

ITProPortal quoted a statement from Google, which said, "Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the authorities involved throughout this process, and we'll continue to do so going forward."

Tags: Google, Europe, regulations, Privacy policy

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