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Google’s data privacy policy is in European sights

French CNIL is not happy with changes
Tue Feb 19 2013, 11:46
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FRENCH DATA PRIVACY WATCHDOG the CNIL is taking Google to task again over its data privacy policy.

The CNIL, or Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés, is the French information commissioner's office and it isn't happy with the changes Google has made to its privacy policy.

Since the start of last year it has hemmed and hawed over Google's work on personal data privacy, and now as spring approaches it is back at it and is threatening Google with "coordinated repressive action" by it and its European peers.

Google introduced a new privacy policy for sharing user information across services like Blogger and Youtube in March 2012. The CNIL looked into it and was immediately dissatisfied with it.

"On October 16, 2012 and after several months' investigation lead by the CNIL, the European data protection authorities have published their joint conclusions on Google's new confidentiality rules. The authorities recommended to Google to improve data subjects' information and clarify the combination of data across Google's services," it said in a statement on its website.

"Lastly, they asked Google to provide precise retention periods for the personal data it processes. After a [four] months deadline that was granted to Google in order to comply with the European data protection regulation and to implement effectively G29's recommendations, no answer has been given."

The October conclusions were that Google's privacy policies were disorganised and scattershot and allowed for "uncontrolled combination of data across services".

Google told us that it respects countries' laws and that it has "engaged fully" with the CNIL on the creation of new services.

"Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services," said a spokesperson. "We have engaged fully with the CNIL throughout this process, and we'll continue to do so going forward."

However, going forward Google can expect more pressure and continued investigation from the CNIL.

The French data privacy regulator said that it will set up a working group, which it will lead, and coordinate a response by this summer. It said the future of this working group will be decided at the end of February. µ


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