EU set to take action over Google privacy concerns

by Kenny Hemphill on February 18, 2013

French privacy regulator CNIL has said that action will be taken against Google after it failed to make changes to its privacy policies, according to the BBC.

CNIL, which led an inquiry on behalf of the EU, along with Croatia and Lichtenstein, into changes made to Google’s privacy policies last March, told the company in October it had ‘three or four months’ to change them or CNIL would ‘enter a phase of litigation.’

The changes to Google’s privacy terms and conditions took effect on 1 March 2012, pulling together data Google holds about account holders for its various services, such as You Tube and Gmail. That means it can cross-reference what it knows about your favourite videos with information gathered from email conversations, for example.

The company says that this allows it to serve users better by enabling them to personalise search results listings more accurately and show more relevant adverts. Privacy campaigners claim that users were railroaded into accepting the changes and that opting out of having personal data stored is too difficult. One of the concerns raised by CNIL was that there is no limit on the scope of data collection or usage.

‘Google did not provide any precise and effective answers,’ CNIL said today. ‘In this context, the EU data protection authorities are committed to act and continue their investigations. Therefore, they propose to set up a working group, led by the CNIL, in order to coordinate their reaction, which should take place before summer.’

Google claims that its policy is compliant with EU law and told the BBC ‘We have engaged fully with the CNIL throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward.’

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