EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has stated that
The new policy, announced by Google in January, consolidates 70
plus privacy policies into one main document to govern the majority
of its products and services. Google stated that one of its primary
aims is to explain what information is collected and how it is used
in a much more "readable way", with less "legal
gloop to wade through".
Google have cited that the multiple policies were over
complicated and at odds with their efforts to integrate its
different products and services more closely.
In practice, according to Google, users signed in to Google
Accounts will be treated as a single user across all the products,
meaning Google is able to combine information provided in relation
to one service with information from other services. Essentially,
private information collected from browsing data and web history by
one Google service can be shared with its other platforms,
including YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and Blogger. It is claimed this
is to allow Google to offer better targeted advertising to users,
and customise search results more efficiently. Social networking
site Linkedin implemented similar measures last year. Under the
guise of providing more privacy control to the user, the social
network automatically opted-in its circa 100 million users into the
social advertising program without informing them of the change
beyond a blog post. Shown by default were the names and photos of
users within the thirdparty advertisements they had recommended or
followed. Following a backlash, only the number of users in your
network who like or follow the brand are displayed, also by
Google stated it was confident that its "new simple, clear
protection laws and principle". However, EU data protection
agencies beg to differ, concluding that the new policy does not
meet the requirements of the EU Directive on Data Protection.
Following an investigation by France's privacy watchdog CNIL
(Commission national de l'informatique et des libertes) Reding
announced they "have come to the conclusion that they are
deeply concerned, and that the new rules are not in accordance with
the European law, and that the transparency rules have not been
Despite being warned of CNIL's concerns, Google proceeded
with the launch, and defended the policy stating it will not change
any existing privacy settings or how information is shared outside
of Google, with no additional information being collected.
vague" by David Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the UK's
Information Commissioner's Office. The requirement under the
Data Protection Act 1998 is for a company to tell people what it
actually intends to do with their data, not just what it might do
at some unspecified point in future. Being vague does not help give
users effective control over how their information is shared.
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