MARCH 2, 2012

Google – Breaching European Law?

Google has gone ahead with the implementation of its  controversial new privacy policy, despite a warning from EU authorities to CEO  Larry Page on Tuesday that Google appears to be violating European law.

With effect from 1st March, private data  collected about you when you use one Google service – such as your browsing  data and web history – will be collated with data about your use of all its  other platforms, including YouTube, Gmail and Blogger.

Google’s revenues come from selling ads which are targeted  on individual user behaviour.  By linking  your use of all platforms together, Google can build a more complete picture of  you and your preferences, which significantly increases the value of the  advertising they sell.

Users cannot opt out of the new privacy policy unless they  stop using Google’s Services.

Peter Fleischer, Google’s global privacy counsel, said “while our privacy policies will change on 1st  March, our commitment to our privacy principles is as strong as ever”.  However, Google has declined a request from  CNIL, the French regulator, to delay its new policy.

The regulator says data protection authorities in the EU  “are deeply concerned about the combination of personal data across services”,  and that “Google’s new policy does not meet the requirements of the European  Directive on Data Protection”.

The regulatory said it would send Google questions on the  changes by the middle of this month.  It remains to be seen whether Google’s actions will be subject to any formal challenge.

Meanwhile, various websites and blogs in the technology  community have given guidance for users concerned about how their browsing  history will be used.  They advise that  not logging in will reduce the amount of data stored by the company, although –  like many other sites, – it will still store anonymous data about you.  They also suggest that users can access, and  delete, their browsing and search history on the site by logging in to

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Roz Goldstein

Roz Goldstein


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