Google is a US company providing Internet-related products and services, including internet search, cloud computing, and software and advertising technologies. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin with an unofficial slogan of “Don’t be evil”, the company has established itself in the mobile sector through its widely used Android operating system, and has a major presence in the smartphone market.
The letter, which stopped short of declaring Google’s approach to collecting user data illegal, comes after a nine-month investigation led by France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique (CNIL) on behalf of the EU’s regulators.
Google must spell out its intentions and methods for combining data collected from its various services, and the web search giant must ask its users for explicit consent when bundling their data together, the regulators say in the letter sent to Google.
“Combining personal data on such a large scale creates high risks to the privacy of users,” says the letter, signed by 24 of EU’s 27 data regulators plus those of Croatia and Liechtenstein. It has not yet been signed by data regulators from Greece, Romania and Lithuania.
“Therefore, Google should modify its practices when combining data across services for these purposes.”
Under its new system, which the company introduced in March, Google consolidated 60 privacy policies into one and began pooling data it collects on users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and its social network Google+.
Google replied to CNIL with a 94-page document but that regulators found unsatisfactory.
Google could not immediately be reached for comment.