EU to Google: Your Privacy Changes Are Against Our Law

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bill-swift - March 8, 2012

Over the years, Google has grown to become a force to be reckoned with. What began as a research project eventually became the world's most popular search engine, leading to the formation of a multi-national corporation that now deals with cloud computing and advertising technologies aside from Internet search.

One thing that's been growing alongside Google in the last couple of years is privacy concerns. Because the web gives the illusion that individuals and corporations are somehow faceless entities, other opportunistic parties have crossed that privacy line again and again when it comes to collecting, sharing, and using their customers' personal information.

To make things simple and safeguard against lawsuits, most firms already have a privacy policy in place, and Google is no exception. The search giant recently made changes to their policy, which you probably already know if you have a Google account. One major change was that private data collected by one Google service can now be shared with its other platforms such as YouTube, Gmail, and Blogger.

It doesn't go against any US laws, but apparently, it's breaking some EU laws on transparency. That's what EU justice commissioner Viviane Redin told the BBC, stating that "transparency rules have not been applied."

Google countered saying that it believed its new policy complied with EU's law.

We are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy policy respects all European data protection laws and principles

-- Google

Doubts about the privacy changes were first cast by data regulators in France, and CNIL, a French privacy watchdog, urged Google to take a short "pause" before rolling out the changes. 

The CNIL and EU data authorities are deeply concerned about the combination of personal data across services They have strong doubts about the lawfulness and fairness of such processing, and its compliance with European data protection legislation.


Google's global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer has since responded to these allegations in a blog post, offering to answer any questions that the organization had with regards to the policy changes.

As we've said several times over the past week, while our privacy policies will change on 1st March, our commitment to our privacy principles is as strong as ever.

-- Peter Fleischer

As I've said, privacy has always been an issue. And even if companies provide privacy policies, only a small percentage of Internet users actually take the time to read through the entire thing. To prove this point, campaign group Big Brother Watch revealed that only 12% of the UK's Google users actually read the revised version.

I don't know what will be happening to the future of privacy, but I do know one thing: this Google privacy drama will probably drag on for a little while longer while the rest of the world wonders just how much data Google has on them.

Article by Hazel Chua
Gigadgetry: Cool Gadgets, Tech News, Quirky Devices 

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