Google's New Privacy Policy Seems To Violate EU Data Protection Rules

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Google's New Privacy Policy Seems To Violate EU Data Protection Rules

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced changes on their privacy policies on January; one policy will replace over 60 policies. This new privacy policy facilitates Google to share the data it collects to its different services. Privacy watchdogs say Google is looking to more finely target advertising, and that’s the way they make money. The changes on the policy will affect users who are signed into Google.

But this new privacy policy appears to violate the Europeans Union’s data protection rules. The CNIL a French agency is investigating the new privacy policy for the Europeans Union’s data protection authorities; they pressed Google to delay its rollout until they can investigate further but declined to do that. Google says that the changes will take effect on March 1 and won’t be delayed.

They posted a letter on their website on Tuesday, the letter reads, “The CNIL and the EU data protection authorities are deeply concerned about the combination of personal data across services: They have strong doubts about the lawfulness and fairness of such processing.”  The letter has comments from U.S. Federal Trade Commission Jon Leibowitz who said Google is forcing users to make a “brutal choice” with its new privacy policy. Google says users can avail themselves of privacy controls. And on an interview he added “Other than saying that they have been clear, and that it’s a fairly binary and somewhat brutal choice that they are giving consumers, I think I can’t say much more.”

The agency said Google’s explanation of the use of the data was vague and difficult to understand “even for trained privacy professionals.”

Peter Fleischer Google’s global privacy counsel wrote in response to CNIL’s letter: “We are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy policy respects all European data protection laws and principles”.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is trying to appeal a judge’s ruling that dismissed its legal challenge to Google’s privacy policy. The judge said she did not have authority to force the FTC to work against Google. EPIC stands that Google is violating a settlement it reached with the FTC requiring the company to protect user data.

“EPIC – along with many other individuals and organizations – has advanced serious concerns that may well be legitimate,’’ Amy Berman Jackson federal judge wrote in her ruling. “The FTC, which has advised the court that the matter is under review, may ultimately decide to institute an enforcement action.’’

CNIL, on the part of the Article 29 Working Group of EU data protection authorities, is going to send questions to Google as it continues the review, according to Falque- Pierrotin’s letter.

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The post above is drafted by the collaboration of the Hedge Fund Alpha Team.

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