Google Unified Policies May Run Afoul of EU Rules

Posted by at 11:30 am on March 1, 2012

European Commission official Viviane Reding in an interview with the BBC’s Radio 4 on Thursday said that Google’s newly in-effect unified privacy policy was so far determined to be violating EU laws. Those managing data rights in the EU believed Google was breaking terms requiring that it be transparent on how the data would be used. Data was being handed over to third parties in a way that Google account holders hadn’t agreed to, she said.

Despite having initially complimented Google, Reding believed that Google wouldn’t have even been able to propose its new privacy approach under new data protection rules that had appeared just a day after Google’s notice. Under the EU terms, users have to be clearly told what will happen to their data.

The EU hadn’t been consulted, Reding added. Google may have antagonized the Commission after it refused to freeze its policy implementation to verify whether it was legal under EU laws.

Google has argued that its new approach, which consolidates 60 of its 70 total policies into one. While meant to give users an easier-to-understand notion of what they’re agreeing to, concerns have existed that it was takign control out of users’ hands and sharing information in one service with another while not giving consent. Google has said control remains for individual services, but its approach is still mostly all-or-nothing and makes it difficult to only agree to use for one service.

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