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October 15, 2012

EU asks Google to undo privacy policy

The contentious alterations were made in March 2012 to Google's European privacy policy

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Union (EU) has asked Google to undo the contentious alterations that were made in March 2012 to its European privacy policy.

The search giant has been told to strengthen its privacy policy how the company discloses information about data collected from users of its Web-search engine and other services.

It follows an investigation into the matter in February the coalition of European Union data-protection authorities led by France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique (CNIL).

The French data protection authority, CNIL, along with EU data protection authorities is expected notify that the privacy policy alterations introduced by Google violate EU regulations by not offering users any option to avoid the changes.

US-based lawyer Bradley Shears was quoted by the Guardian as saying that CNIL is anticipated to rectify that Google violated EU privacy law, and to necessitate it to undo the changes.

"Since Google had the technical capability to combine the data of all of its users’ accounts it should have the ability to reinstate the previous barriers that acted like a digital Chinese wall between its services that better protected user privacy," Shears said.

"Since Google refused to heed the EU’s prior warnings that changing its privacy policies may violate data protection laws it would not surprise me if restrictions are placed on how Google may utilise the user data profiles it has created since the new policies went into effect.

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"This [EU] decision may restrict Google’s ability to fully monetise its users’ personal data across its platforms and may cost Google tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue."

The alterations that were tracked in January and then carried out in March 2012 involved Google’s combining of "silos" of data gathered from services including its search service, YouTube and Maps.

Google however maintains that the policy is in compliance with the EU laws.

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