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Monday, February 18, 2013
European Regulators To Slam Google Over Its Unified Privacy Policy

European data watchdogs said on Monday they will take action against Google by this summer for its privacy policy, which allows the company to pool user data from across all its services.

On October 16, 2012 and after several months' investigation lead by France's CNIL data protection agency, the European data protection authorities have published their joint conclusions on Google's new confidentiality rules. The authorities recommended to Google to improve data subjects' information and clarify the combination of data across Google's services. Lastly, they asked Google to provide precise retention periods for the personal data it processes. After a 4 months deadline that was granted to Google in order to comply with the European data protection regulation and to implement effectively G29's recommendations, no answer has been given.

On February 18, European data protection authorities have noted that Google did not provide any precise and effective answers to their recommendations. In this context, the EU data protection authorities are committed to act and continue their investigations. Therefore, they propose to set up a working group, lead by the CNIL, in order to coordinate their repressive action which should take place before summer.

This action plan was designed during a meeting that was hold in Paris at the end of January and will be submitted to the Article 29 Working Party for approval during the next plenary meeting on February 26.

Google rolled out the new privacy policy in March 2012, allowing it to track users across various services to develop targeted advertising, despite sharp criticism from US and European consumer advocacy groups.

Google said that its confidentiality policy is in line with European law.

"Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services," Google said in a statement following CNIL's announcement.

EU competition authorities are separately looking at whether Google used its search engine to boost its own services and disadvantage competitors by preferential rankings.

Google has responded to that probe, submitting last month proposals aimed at ending the EU probe into its dominance of online search advertising platforms.

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