French regulator warns of Google privacy policy

Feb 28, 2012 By GABRIELE STEINHAUSER , AP Business Writer

Google's new privacy policy appears to violate the European Union's data protection rules, France's regulator said Tuesday, just two days before the new guidelines are set to come into force.

Google announced its new with much fanfare last month. The rules, which are set to come into force on Thursday, regulate how the Web giant uses the enormous amounts of its collects through its search engine, and other services.

However, the EU's data protection authorities are concerned about the privacy effects of the policy and earlier this month asked French regulator CNIL to investigate them.

"Our preliminary analysis shows that Google's new policy does not meet the requirements of the European Directive on Data Protection," CNIL said in a letter to Google Chief Executive . The letter was sent Monday and posted on CNIL's website Tuesday.

The agency said Google's explanation of how it will use the data was too vague and difficult to understand "even for trained privacy professionals"

The new policy makes it easier for Google to combine the data of one person using different services such as the search engine, or if he is logged into his Google account. That allows Google to create a broader profile of that user and target advertising based on that person's interests and search history more accurately. Advertising is the main way Google makes its money.

Google argues that combining the data into one profile also makes search results more relevant and allows a user to cross-navigate between different services more easily.

"Over the past month we have asked to meet with the CNIL on several occasions to answer any questions they might have, and that offer remains open," said Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel. "We are committed to providing our users with a seamless experience across Google's services, and to making our privacy commitments to them easy to understand."

The probe of the privacy policy is one of several battle lines between Google and the European Commission, the executive arms of the 27-country EU.

Google's search engine has a market share of more than 90 percent in the EU, with rival services like Microsoft's Bing gaining little traction.

The Commission is already examining whether Google uses this dominance to stop other search engines from entering the market. It is also investigating complaints from Microsoft and Apple into whether Motorola, which is in the process of taking over, is breaking EU competition rules in its aggressive enforcement of standard-essential patents.

Explore further: How does false information spread online?

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU probes new Google privacy policy

Feb 03, 2012

The European Union's data protection authorities have asked Google to delay the rollout of its new privacy policy until they have verified that it doesn't break the bloc's data protection laws.

Google to merge user data across more services

Jan 24, 2012

Google Inc. is overhauling the way it treats user data, linking information across its array of email, video and social-networking services so that information gathered in one place can be used in another.

S. Korea urges Google to improve privacy

Feb 28, 2012

South Korean regulators Tuesday voiced concerns over Google's controversial plan to merge user data from YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and other services in individual comprehensive profiles.

US lawmakers seek Google answers on privacy

Jan 30, 2012

Two US lawmakers have asked Google chief Larry Page to brief congress on changes to the Internet search giant's privacy policies, citing concerns about collection and sharing of personal data.

Recommended for you

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

3 hours ago

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

6 hours ago

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Unlocking secrets of new solar material

(Phys.org) —A new solar material that has the same crystal structure as a mineral first found in the Ural Mountains in 1839 is shooting up the efficiency charts faster than almost anything researchers have ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

New US-Spanish firm says targets rich mobile ad market

Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica and US investment giant Blackstone launched a mobile telephone advertising venture on Wednesday, challenging internet giants such as Google and Facebook in a multi-billion-dollar ...

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. ...