EU Regulators Ask Google to Put the Breaks on Its New Privacy Policy

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Google's reactions: Nothing is really changing. And why is this a problem now? We briefed you weeks ago.

Google announced its new, unified privacy policy last month. The new policy is scheduled to go into effect on March 1. Now, however, the European Union's Article 29 Working Party, which represents data protection agencies from the EU's member countries, has asked Google to halt this rollout so it can better review the proposed changes. Specifically, the group wants to ensure that the new policy still complies with EU data and privacy regulations.

Reacting to this, Google noted that it "had extensively pre-briefed data protection authorities across the EU prior to the launch of our notification to users on 24 January 2012." In a statement to the EU (PDF), Google notes that its approach to privacy hasn't changed and that its new policy won't affect its users' existing privacy settings. Google also stressed that its users' private information will remain private and that it is not collecting any additional data about them.

Interestingly, Google also notes that its users "can use as much or as little of Google as they want."

The main reason for changing its policy, Google says, is so that it can combine information about a user from different services. Currently, for example, YouTube can't take data from the rest of your Google activities into account when it recommends videos to you because Google never updated YouTube's privacy policy to include Google.

Unsurprisingly, Google's reaction to the EU feels a lot like its comments on Microsoft's recent attacks against its policies. There, too, Google argued that it really isn't changing anything about its approach to privacy.

Frederic Lardinois founded SiliconFilter in 2011. Before starting this site, he wrote about 1,500 articles for ReadWriteWeb. His areas of interest are consumer web and mobile apps, as well as Internet-connected devices like cars, smart sensors and toasters. You can reach him at [email protected]

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