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Friday, February 03, 2012
Europe Probes Google's New Privacy Policy

Earlier this month Google announced that it was updating its privacy policies. Today France?s data-protection agency is leading an EU analysis into the changes, and is asking the Internet giant to stop the roll out.

In a letter to Google's co-founder and Chief Executive Larry Page, Jacob Kohnstamm, Chairman of the Article 29 Working Party, said that France's National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) would be leading an investigation to "check the possible consequences for the protection of the personal data of these citizens in a coordinated procedure," before requesting Google to "pause" the changes.

The Article 29 Working Party constitutes representative from the data protection authority of each EU Member State, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission.

Below is the full letter:

"On behalf of the Article 29 Working Party I would like to inform you that we are aware of the upcoming change in your privacy policy.

Given the wide range of services you offer, and popularity of these services, changes in your privacy policy may affect many citizens in most or all of the EU member states.

We wish to check the possible consequences for the protection of the personal data of these citizens in a coordinated procedure. We have therefore asked the French data protection authority, the CNIL, to take the lead. The CNIL has kindly accepted this task and will be your point of contact for the data protection authorities in the EU.

In light of the above, we call for a pause in the interests of ensuring that there can be no misunderstanding about Google's commitments to information rights of their users and EU citizens, until we have completed our analysis"

Microsoft sought to capitalize on the bad publicity caused by Google's announcement of its new policy by launching its own anti-Google ad campaign.

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