Google – Breaching European Law?March 2, 2012
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.
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 google.com/history.