Europe to move against Google over privacy rules | South China Morning Post
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Europe to move against Google over privacy rules

Data protection agencies warned Google in September that its new confidentiality policy did not comply with EU laws

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 3:43am

European data protection agencies intend to take action against the US internet giant Google after it failed to follow their orders to comply with EU privacy laws, a French agency said Monday.

In October, the data protection agencies warned Google that its new confidentiality policy did not comply with EU laws and gave it four months to make changes or face legal action.

"At the end of a four-month delay accorded to Google to comply with the European data protection directive and to implement effectively [our] recommendations, no answer has been given," said France's CNIL data protection agency.

At the end of a four-month delay accorded to Google to comply with the European data protection directive and to implement effectively [our] recommendations, no answer has been given

It said that European data protection agencies planned to set up a working group to "co-ordinate their coercive actions which should be implemented before the summer".

European data agencies were to meet next week to approve the action plan, CNIL said.

Google rolled out the new privacy policy last March, allowing it to track users across various services to develop targeted advertising, despite sharp criticism from US and European consumer advocacy groups.

It contends the move simplifies and unifies its policies across its various services such as Gmail, YouTube, Android mobile systems, social networks and internet searches.

But critics argue that the policy, which offers no ability to opt out aside from refraining from signing into Google services, gives the operator of the world's largest search engine unprecedented ability to monitor its users.

Google said yesterday that its confidentiality policy was in line with European law.

"Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services," Google said following CNIL's announcement.

European data protection agencies had recommended to Google that it improve information provided to users, particularly on the categories of data being processed, and on how that data was used.

CNIL said they had also asked Google to specify precise periods it would hold onto personal data.

EU competition authorities are separately looking at whether the US firm used its search engine to boost its own services and disadvantage competitors by preferential rankings. Google has responded to that probe, submitting proposals last month aimed at ending the investigation into its dominance of online search advertising platforms.

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