data privacy

EU advises Google to rethink privacy policy

Warwick Ashford

The EU is to tell Google to change the way it gathers information on users to reduce the risk of infringing on their privacy.

After a nine-month investigation into Google’s business model, which depends on advertisements tailored to users based on personal data, the EU’s data regulators have drawn up 12 recommendations, the BBC reported.

The investigations followed concerns raised by the regulators in March when Google started combining data from several sites to target its advertising, consolidating 60 privacy policies into one.

Google has maintained the policy complies with EU law, but French regulator CNIL was tasked by the EU to investigate the policy.

The report stops short of declaring Google's data gathering practices illegal, but sets out 12 measures the company must implement to satisfy EU privacy concerns.

The recommendations are said to include a focus on personal information and browsing records, and the collection of location-based data and credit card details.

Analysts said Google should have realised that changes to its privacy policy would conflict with EU law, which highlights the fact that its business model relies on collecting personal data.

In July, Google was forced to submit a revised set of proposals to address the concerns of Europe’s competition authorities.

EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia asked Google to clarify some elements of the proposals submitted at the beginning of July.

In May, Almunia set a July deadline for Google to respond to four areas of concern about the company abusing its dominant position in its online search rankings.

The call for clarification suggests that Google's first set of proposals did not go far enough to address those concerns.

In June, the firm's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, said Google disagreed that the firm had done anything to breach EU antitrust law.


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