advertisement
advertisement

Google Must Make Its Privacy Policy More Transparent To U.K. Users

Google Must Make Its Privacy Policy More Transparent To U.K. Users
[Photo: Flickr user Sam Greenhalgh]

When it comes to concerns over possible privacy violations, Google has run into more challenges in Europe than almost anywhere else.

Back in 2012, Google experienced problems in the EU when it decided to amalgamate its various privacy policies into one document–which would sum up Google’s views on privacy for everything from Gmail to YouTube. As an unintended result, Google was dragged into an ongoing battle with European regulators, who were nervous about what the new unilateral privacy policy meant for end users.

Today, both regulators and Google (at least in the U.K.) have seemingly come to an understanding, with the U.K.’s Information Commissioners Office (ICO) announcing that Google has agreed to a new unified privacy policy that will be more transparent for users—particularly regarding how third parties collect anonymized user data, and what individual users can do to assert their privacy rights. (Though even anonymized data is not anonymous–see our report from this week.)

“This investigation has identified some important learning points not only for Google, but also for all organisations operating online, particularly when they seek to combine and use data across services,” the ICO’s Head of Enforcement, Steve Eckersley, said in a statement. “It is vital that there is clear and effective information available to enable users to understand the implications of their data being combined. The detailed agreement Google has signed setting out its commitments will ensure that.”

The search giant now has until June 30 to make the requested changes.

While this decision currently applies to the U.K. only, it follows reports of proposed similar measures in the U.S., aiming to restrict the way in which consumer data is gathered and handled by Internet companies—along with handing out new power to the Federal Trade Commission to mete out punishments for privacy violations.

[via Engadget]LD