Europe Launches Formal Investigations into Google's Privacy Policies

Six countries are considering action against the company after it failed to meet a deadline to make changes in its privacy policy.

Six European countries are launching formal investigations into Google's privacy practices. Europe's regulators had previously given the company four months to revise its recently updated privacy policy to comply with European law, and Google declined to make any changes.

The BBC reported, "Six European data protection agencies are contemplating legal action over Google's privacy policy. The threat comes as a four-month deadline to change the policy expires with Google making 'no change' to the policy. Google's perceived failure to act is being looked in to by data watchdogs in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK."

Bloomberg's Stephanie Bodoni added, "Google Inc. (GOOG) faces possible fines after six European Union data protection regulators started 'coordinated' enforcement measures over the company’s failure to fix flaws in a new privacy policy. Today’s joint decision follows a deadlock at a March 19 meeting between Google and a taskforce of regulators, France’s National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties said in a statement on its website. CNIL, which led the process, said in the statement the investigation is now closed and as the meeting yielded 'no change,' it’s up to national regulators to pursue the company according to their own rules and powers."

The Telegraph's Christopher Williams noted, "Google today repeated its view that the new policy makes things simpler for consumers and denied breaking the law. 'Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services,' a spokesman said. 'We have engaged fully with the [authorities] involved throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward.'"

In related news, PC Mag's Chloe Albanesius wrote, "Google today confirmed that its privacy director, Alma Whitten, will step down this summer. Lawrence You, an engineering director at Google, will take over for Whitten when she departs in June."

Tags: Google, privacy, government, Europe

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