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Google 'breaches EU privacy laws'

google data protection privacy breach

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#1 jakem1

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:33

Google's unilateral change to its privacy policy in March will come under fire from European data protection commissioners within days, sources say.
The controversial changes, in which Google tied together the previously separate data collected under services including its search engine, YouTube and Google+ were announced in January and implemented two months later. While creating a unified privacy policy across all the services, it also in effect amassed the data into a single location.

That attracted widespread criticism – and now the group of 30 data protection commissioners from across the European Union are believed to have determined that Google has breached EU privacy laws.

Now Google might be required to undo the changes – although Auke Haagsma, a lawyer advising the lobby group Icomp, which is critical of Google's policies, said that would be like trying to "unscramble the egg".

Data protection commissioners in a number of countries have varying powers. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in the UK declined to comment on the decision, but said that generally it can use its powers to force any company that breaks the law in altering its privacy policy to reverse the change. "We can issue an enforcement notice," said a spokesperson.

The internet firm is already being investigated by the European commission's competition arm, which says that the way it orders its search results, uses other sites' content, and controls some elements of advertising is anti-competitive.

The two sides have been locked in negotiations since July. Joaquín Almunia, the EC competition commissioner, warned Google in September that it could face court action if it was not more flexible in the negotiations.

Some German data protection authorities are also considering their response to the news that Google has not destroyed all the data its Street View cars collected when they scanned Wi-Fi networks in houses and businesses adjacent to roads.

The changes to Google's privacy policies had already been described as being possibly in breach of EU law by the justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, in March.

Data protection commissioners, led by the French national agency CNIL, criticised Google at the time for making the change without offering consumers the chance to opt out by remaining with the existing policy. The only choices Google offered users were to move to the new policy, or delete their entire user profile. The CNIL and others wanted them to be offered the option of remaining with the existing segmented profile.
Google said at the time that the changes would simplify the experience of using its services and that it was confident that they respected "all European data protection laws and principles". It said users would benefit because it would be able to tailor search results and advertising more specifically to users.

Google declined to comment.

http://www.guardian....data-protection


#2 StevenJ

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:43

EU political logic: let's try to fix the economy we ****ed by stealing money from American-based companies :)

#3 jamieakers

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:56

I look forward to the day us Brits are allowed to vote on whether we remain part of the EU.

#4 Osiris

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 13:00

haha kind of funny these guys are worrying about googles policies with our data...seem to recall the UK considering data retention and spy agency power expansions in recent times, where were these guys then /rollseyes.

#5 .Neo

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 13:06

EU political logic: let's try to fix the economy we ****ed by stealing money from American-based companies :)

American company logic: Let's have no respect for local legislation whatsoever, screw over consumers one way or the other and then try to get away with it.

#6 .Neo

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 13:24

I look forward to the day us Brits are allowed to vote on whether we remain part of the EU.

You and me both. Don't forget to blow up the Channel Tunnel on your way out. We'll take care of closing down our ports to everything British.

#7 Riva

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 17:00

I look forward to the day us Brits are allowed to vote on whether we remain part of the EU.

Because Google is good for your nation.
You realise that most hands-on jobs are right now held by eastern Europeans and the minute they go we will end up with a community of bankers and lawyers?

#8 thealexweb

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 17:07

The should be allowed to keep the data as one database but delete search data, browsing history (not data like emails, etc) older than one year.

#9 +techbeck

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 18:50

American company logic: Let's have no respect for local legislation whatsoever, screw over consumers one way or the other and then try to get away with it.


Like Apple has screwed over customers with the antenna issue and now the purple flare. Apple can only make good products and any problems are the users.
And Microsoft has had their dare share if issues like this... A long with other non American companies.

This is nothing new in the tech world. So many different laws to abide by around the world that companies are bound to screw up. I'm sure Google will do right by this. If not, then I'm sure the proper penalties will be given out.

#10 SiCKX

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 19:13

I look forward to the day us Brits are allowed to vote on whether we remain part of the EU.


I can imagine the stupidity Cameron will come up with afterwards.

#11 ThePitt

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 19:48

EU political logic: let's try to fix the economy we ****ed by stealing money from American-based companies :)

lol how old are you, 12?
And its about privacy, not money. that kind of money talk is in your joke country, where the company that makes money does whatever they want, because they have the money and money talks, right?.
No wonder when your country runs out of money, start a war, using anything as an excuse.

#12 Jazirian

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 20:02

I look forward to the day us Brits are allowed to vote on whether we remain part of the EU.

And when that day comes, please spend a little time considering 'why' so much of our media wants us to leave the EU. Many of the rights you take for granted - consumer protection laws, workers rights - are EU laws.

#13 .Neo

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 20:08

Like Apple has screwed over customers with the antenna issue and now the purple flare. Apple can only make good products and any problems are the users.
And Microsoft has had their dare share if issues like this... A long with other non American companies.

That's why it's so important the EU has these consumer protection laws in place and fines companies that breach it.

PS If you want to discuss the purple flare issue I suggest you go to the appropriate thread. It has nothing to do with this subject as explained there.

#14 Growled

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 22:23

This is nothing new. Google is always breaking some law somewhere.

#15 thealexweb

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 22:46

This is nothing new. Google is always breaking some law somewhere.


As are all companies :p