EU Regulators Give Google Four Months to Amend Privacy Policy

 Google

PARIS – European data regulators on Tuesday said that Google's current privacy policy breaches European Union rules and gave the online giant four months to comply with its guidelines.

Speaking on behalf of their European counterparts, representatives of the French National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) unveiled the findings of a probe into the web giant at a press conference here.

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Users should be given an opportunity to opt out of data gathering by the company, they demanded. They also urged Google to revert to a setup closer to its previous privacy rules.

Google had in March introduced a new set of privacy policies, rebuffing requests by European data protection authorities to postpone the change until a review.

The authorities, led by CNIL, had raised two major concerns. First, they argued that the policy may be too vague for average users to grasp. Second, they said the collection of personal data across services may be unlawful and unfair. Nonetheless, Google went ahead and rolled out its new privacy guidelines.

Tuesday's update in Paris gave Google time to modify its approach.

Speaking on behalf of nation privacy regulators, CNIL outlined 12 recommendations for Google to make its privacy policy comply with EU rules.

CNIL told the search engine to limit the combination of data it gathers to better target ads, expand information it provides about its privacy policy and allow users to have more control over their personal data. Among other things, it urged Google to tell consumers how personal data will be used and disclosing how long it retains data.

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Other European data protection agencies may decide to pursue their own national cases against Google, follow the French lead or take a different approach. 

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, the president of CNIL, described personal and usage data as the main resources of the digital economy. As Internet corporations compete for personal data, she said, Europe appears as a goldmine given the advanced levels of Internet usage in many countries.

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