European Data Protection Digest

EU Regulators Call for Changes to Google’s Privacy Policy

PRIVACY LAW

October 18, 2012

The New York Times reports on this week’s press conference hosted by the French data protection authority, the CNIL, where regulators called upon Google to clarify its 10-month-old privacy policy or face potential sanctions. In a letter to Google, the regulators noted that the revised privacy policy “did not appear to adhere to Europe’s approach to data collection, which requires explicit prior consent by individuals and that the data collected be kept at a minimum,” the report states. CNIL Chairwoman Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said the agency will give Google three or four months to respond to the concerns. In a statement provided to the Daily Dashboard, Google Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer said, “We have received the report and are reviewing it now. Our new privacy policy demonstrates our longstanding commitment to protecting our users’ information and creating great products. We are confident that our privacy notices respect European law.” While the U.S. Federal Trade Commission declined Falque-Pierrotin’s request to endorse the EU’s position, Dutch DPA Chairman Jacob Kohnstamm confirmed that privacy regulators from the 27 EU member states, Canada and some countries in Asia participated in the CNIL inquiry and “endorsed the request to Google, which outlines areas for changes to improve protection of personal data.” Google CEO Larry Page has since defended the policy, saying, “Virtually everything we want to do, I think, is somewhat at odds with locking down all of your information for uses you haven’t contemplated yet. That’s something I worry about.” (Registration may be required to access this story.) Editor's Note: Jacob Kohnstamm will deliver a keynote address while Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin will participate in a breakout session on the new European privacy regulation at the upcoming IAPP Data Protection Congress in Brussels, Belgium, in November.
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