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France’s independent privacy watchdog, the CNIL (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés), had already concluded that the new policy did not meet the requirements of the European Directive on Data Protection earlier in the week.
At issue is the consolidation of Google’s 70 or so privacy policies across its products down to one. With the change, Google seeks to maintain one profile for users rather than separate logs for services like YouTube, Search, Google+, and Blogger. It’s that account consolidation bit and opt-out procedures for users that have privacy advocates up in arms.
CNIL has already informed Google that it will lead an EU-wide probe into the new policy. Reding said Thursday that European data control authorities had asked the French organization to analyze the policy, according to Reuters.
“And they have come to the conclusion that they are deeply concerned, and that the new rules are not in accordance with the European law, and that the transparency rules have not been applied,” the news agency quoted Reding as saying.
Google has defended the policy update on its official blog, and stressed that “as you use our products one thing will be clear: it’s the same Google experience that you’re used to, with the same controls.”
The update, Google said, will allow it “to improve our products in ways that help our users get the most from the Web.”
And Google’s actual privacy policies aren’t changing, the company has insisted. “The new policy doesn’t change any existing privacy settings or how any personal information is shared outside of Google,” according to the blog post. “We aren’t collecting any new or additional information about users. We won’t be selling your personal data. And we will continue to employ industry-leading security to keep your information safe.”
Despite these assurances, the change has been criticized by everyone from members of Congress and state attorneys general to the European Commission and privacy groups.
Chloe Albanesius and Mark Hachman contributed to this report.
By Damon Poeter, PCMag