EU Asks Google to Delay Policy Changes for Investigation

Google's recent announcement that it plans to consolidate more than 60 of its individual policies into a main privacy policy. Prior to this change, Google had more than 70 privacy documents covering its different products. However, many users took issue with Google's new policy, which the search giant explained would track users across all of the Google products they used and treat them as a single user.

Google insists that very little has changed, that they're not collecting more data about us and the new policy "simply makes it clear" that the company uses data to refine and improve our Google experience. "This is something we have already been doing for a long time," said Betsy Masiello, Policy Manager at Google. "We're making things simpler and we’re trying to be upfront about it. Period."

However, despite these protests from Google, European Union regulators have asked the search giant to put the planned changes, originally scheduled to take effect on March 1, on hold. Reuters reports that The Article 29 Working Party, which is an independent body made up of a representative from the data protection authority of each EU Member State, has written to Google and asked for time to investigate whether the proposals sufficiently protect users' personal data.

"On behalf of the Article 29 Working Party I would like to inform you that we are aware of the upcoming change in your privacy policy.

Given the wide range of services you offer, and popularity of these services, changes in your privacy policy may affect many citizens in most or all of the EU member states.

We wish to check the possible consequences for the protection of the personal data of these citizens in a coordinated procedure. We have therefore asked the French data protection authority, the CNIL, to take the lead. The CNIL has kindly accepted this task and will be your point of contact for the data protection authorities in the EU.

In light of the above, we call for a pause in the interests of ensuring that there can be no misunderstanding about Google's commitments to information rights of their users and EU citizens, until we have completed our analysis."

Google has not yet confirmed that it will put its planned changes to its policies on hold. However, the company did say in a statement to PCWorld that it would be happy to discuss the changes with any data protection authority that has concerns between now and March 1, when the changes are set to take effect.

"We briefed most of the members of the working party in the weeks leading up to our announcement," Google told PCWorld. "None of them expressed substantial concerns at the time -- and we've now started the largest communication to users in our history. The changes do not come into place until March 1, and we're happy to talk any [data protection authority] that has questions through our changes between now and then."

Meanwhile, Google competitor Microsoft is taking full advantage of the situation. The company this week ran full-page advertisements in newspapers, highlighting the change and inviting users to try its rival products.

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  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Seriously? Can we cut down on the paranoia? This thing was made into such a big deal... while most likely it's just a legal excuse to continue doing whatever the hell they were already doing for years before.
    12
  • Other Comments
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Seriously? Can we cut down on the paranoia? This thing was made into such a big deal... while most likely it's just a legal excuse to continue doing whatever the hell they were already doing for years before.
    12
  • yumri4
    i agree with who commented first as well if they dont change then whatever they were doing will most likely not change and this is just a legal thing to make time for whatever they were doing to be prolonged. While what is the policy changes becuase having one privacy policy for all the Google products seems smarter than having one for each and every differnet Google product out there.
    5
  • kcorp2003
    this like EA privacy policy with origin. which they updated and removed within a few days.
    0