Last week, deputy commissioner David Smith told the Guardian that Google’s policy is too “vague”, adding the ICO’s critiqe to those of other EU authorities, which sent an email to the tech giant, saying the changes appeared to violate European law. The criticism was also made by European commissioner Viviane Reding.
France taking the lead
French data protection watchdog CNIL is now leading the investigation into Google’s policy. If the company is deemed to have breached privacy laws, the ICO will issue a similar penalty to that imposed by other EU nations.
This is despite Smith’s indication that the ICO is considering Google’s case under UK law. The deputy commissioner said “the requirement under the UK Data Protection Act is for a company to tell people what it actually intends to do with their data, not just what it might do at some unspecified point in future.”
“We would look to be taking similar actions to the other EU regulators if we all believed the same – that they were in breach of the Act [Data Protection Act],” an ICO spokesperson told TechWeek Europe.
“We welcome any efforts made to help users better understand what’s happening with their data but also they have to put enough detail in there so they can actually give an accurate picture of what is going on.”
CNIL asked Google not to introduce the updated policy, but the tech giant went ahead anyway, arguing that delaying it would only confuse users, considering all the company’s marketing efforts.
Google, meanwhile, believes its changes will make users’ experience on its services more enjoyable.
“Our privacy policies have always allowed us to combine information from different products with your account – effectively using your data to provide you with a better service,” the company said in a blog post earlier this month.
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