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Google is running a privacy changes gauntlet in Holland

Should rewind 2012 changes, or face the financial consequences
Fri Nov 29 2013, 10:33
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INTERNET GIANT Google could be in trouble in Holland because of the changes it made to its user account settings in 2012.

Google was widely criticised for changing its users' account settings last year, and has often been called out about them by concerned parties.

Holland is readying a move in response that could impose a fine on the internet firm.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) has finished a seven month investigation into the changes and come back frowning. It said that the changes made by the firm last year put it in breach of the country's data protection rules.

"The combining of personal data by Google since the introduction of its new privacy policy on 1 March 2012 is in breach of the Dutch data protection act," it said. "The Dutch DPA has invited Google to attend a hearing, after which the authority will decide whether it will take enforcement measures."

Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the College for the Protection of Personal Data, warned that Google's reach is so large now that it is impossible for Dutch people to keep out of its net.

"Google spins an invisible web of our personal information, without our permission, and that is outlawed." The DPA warned that there are three types of Google users, ones that use its services like Mail, others that use it for searching, and a third group that are exposed to its advertising network.

Google said that it takes this sort of thing as it comes, and that it has always attempted to keep its users in the loop about what is happening with their data and web use.

"Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the Dutch DPA throughout this process and will continue to do so going forward," it said in a statement.

Six national privacy authorities, including France, Germany and the UK, are carrying out their own national investigations. µ


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