5 July 2013, 16:42

Europe demands Google to change privacy policy

European data protection agencies have required Google to rewrite its privacy policy in the region, designed to unify data collection, or face legal actions.

Watchdogs in Britain, Italy, German and Spain, led by French regulator CNIL, have started a joint inquiry, considering Google’s policy on collecting user data, launched in March 2012, as not transparent enough about what it does with this information. The company united 60 policies into one document and started collecting data on individual users across its various services, like Gmail, YouTube and Google+.

European regulators are concerned such information could be used not to improve security efforts, but to target advertisement. Besides, CNIL urged Google to “allow users to understand practically the processing of their personal data”.

They gave the company time until February to propose some changes, but it did not make any. If it does not respond, European countries would take force to make Google pay fines.

CNIL said it could fine the company up to 150,000 euros for breaking French laws, while Spain would ask it to pay from 40,000 to 300,000 euros for each violation of the law. In total Google might risk a fine of up to one million euros.

However, the company insists that its actions comply with European Union law.

“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,” told company spokesperson.

The treat of paying a million fines, probably, might not frighten a multi-billion company, still, it is “a significant test of how strong the laws are to protect our privacy in an Internet age,” said Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch.

Voice of Russia, The Guardian

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