EU official: Google privacy changes are in breach of EU law

[JURIST] Google's [corporate website] new privacy policy [text], which took affect Thursday, is in violation of European law according to the EU's Justice Commissioner Vice-President Viviane Reding [official website]. The new policy allows data collection from one Google service to be shared among all services, including YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps and Blogger. The new privacy agreement is mandatory when using Google services, and an individual's search history will personalize the advertising encountered. Reading told BBC that EU transparency rules had not been applied [BBC report]. EU data authorities are concerned about the sharing and combination of personal data across services and its compliance with European data protection legislation [text]. EU regulators are expected to send questions to Google by the middle of March.

Google not only faced international criticism in regards to its new privacy policy, but national concerns as well. Last week, the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] dismissed a suit [JURIST report] from consumer privacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) [advocacy website] asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] to block Google's then proposed changes. The group brought suit in February [JURIST report] and alleged the changes violated a consent order [JURIST report] between the FTC and Google. February also brought criticism from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) [official website] who sent a letter [JURIST report] to Google, signed by 36 state attorneys general, expressing concerns about the company's new privacy policy. Three US representatives sent a letter [text, PDF] to the FTC asking it to look into [JURIST report] Google's new privacy policy. In January, Google issued a letter [JURIST report] in response to concerns raised by members of Congress regarding consumer privacy rights as impacted by the new policy. US Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) [official website] and seven other lawmakers sent a letter [text, PDF] to Google CEO Larry Page containing 11 questions regarding consumer privacy rights [JURIST report] as affected by Google's new privacy policies.

 

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