Google gets six-nation probe over privacy policy

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Google gets six-nation probe over privacy policy

Single privacy policy set to be investigated by ICO and other European regulators

Google faces six European investigations into its privacy policy, after French watchdog CNIL concluded that the search giant had not done enough to address concerns about its unified policies.

The company ran into trouble after it unified its privacy policies from all of its services into one agreement in March 2012, which sparked the investigation by European regulators, lead by the French Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL).

Google met with data protection authorities from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK in March, but made no improvements to its privacy policies, according to CNIL.

Those six countries have launched investigations to find out whether Google’s updated privacy policy falls within their data protection laws, and the EU's Article 29 Working Party, which specialises in data protection, suggested that all EU member states should now carry out their own investigations.

In the UK, the Information Commissioner's Office announced that it was launching an investigation into whether Google’s privacy policies are in breach of the Data Protection Act.

An ICO spokesperson told PC Pro that companies can be in breach of the DPA if their privacy policies are not clear enough.

A Google spokesperson said: "Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the DPAs [data protection authorities] involved throughout this process, and we'll continue to do so going forward."

The ICO is also still carrying out an investigation into Google over the Street View Wi-Fi data capture debacle, in which the company is accused of grabbing personal data collected from unencrypted networks.

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing

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