UK asks Google to revise privacy policy or face enforcement action

By on July 5, 2013, 11:33 AM
google, europe, privacy, ico

Google’s move to a unified privacy policy generated quite a stir when it was announced last year. Although the search giant defended the changes as a way to simplify privacy -- with a single document instead of 60 -- and a more intuitive experience across its own services. Indeed, little had changed in terms of how Google could gather and combine data, but the move still raised concerns with privacy watchdogs around the globe.

Now, following fifteen months of debate and scrutiny, European authorities are giving Google an ultimatum asking them to revise their privacy policy. The latest to chime in is UK’s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which says the policy raises “serious questions” about compliance with the UK Data Protection Act.

Specifically, the ICO found three main areas of concern. First, the group says Google needs to provide more information about how it processes users’ personal data. Google also needs to inform users specifically what their personal data is being used for so they fully understand the implications of using Google’s services; and lastly it must inform users when retention of personal data might exceed service users’ reasonable expectations.

Should Google fail to amend its privacy policy by September 20, the ICO could issue an enforcement notice through the courts and potentially fine the company with up to £500,000.

The warning follows similar complaints from the equivalent organization France last month, which put a legal order in place on its recommendations, giving Google three months to respond or face court action. Other European nations running investigations into Google’s policy include Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.




User Comments: 5

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OneSpeed said:

Why don't we start with the governments that take all the data? The governments should provide more information about how it processes users? personal data. They also needs to inform users specifically what their personal data is being used for so they fully understand the implications of using any data services; and lastly it must inform users when retention of personal data might exceed services users? reasonable expectations.

France??? I mean, c'mon....

Guest said:

Of course, because privacy is sacred, or was.

war59312 said:

Right! So a fine of less than 1 million US. lol

Yea like that matters at all. Make it a billion a day and maybe then would Google comply. Maybe.

Other wise it's just a "tax" right off.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well:

Should Google fail to amend its privacy policy by September 20, the ICO could issue an enforcement notice through the courts and potentially fine the company with up to £500,000.
Wouldn't Google just pull that out of petty cash?

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

It's a bit of momentum in the right direction. If this fine passes, they can start ramping up the penalties and tightening the rules. Good to see there is value in privacy rights somewhere.

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