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Google privacy rules pilloried

October 16, 2012

European Union data protection authorities have found Internet giant Google's privacy policy is not in line with EU laws. It has urged the US company to modify its rules and make data pooling more transparent.

Google's search engine under magnifying glass
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The data protection authorities in all 27 European Union member states sent a joint letter to Google on Tuesday, demanding an overhaul of the US Internet company's current privacy policy.

Google's new standards which were enacted in March have involved pooling user data from all its services, including Gmail, YouTube, Android mobile systems and the company's Internet search engine. Google itself said the move aimed to improve user satisfaction.

But France's National Commission of Information Technology and Liberty (CNIL) which led the EU probe into Google claimed that the new rules did not include any limits on the extent of data collection and their commercial use.

"As a result, a Google user is unable to determine which categories of data are processed in the service he or she uses, and for which purpose these data are processed," CNIL said in a statement.

Google not convinced

According to EU regulators, Google had also failed to say how long it intended to keep user data. They recommended the US firm give users an opt-out on having their data pooled which would go a long way towards bringing Google's policies in line with EU norms.

"Google has a few months to comply," regulators said. "If it takes no action, we will enter a phase of litigation."

In a first reaction to the allegations, Google on Tuesday rejected all accusations by EU data protection agencies. "Our new privacy policy shows our continued commitment to protecting our users' data and creating quality products," the company said in a statement. "We are confident that our policies respect European law."

hg/cg (AFP, dpa)