Data Protection | Google in Breach of EU Law with Privacy Changes

Posted on Friday March 2, 2012

The European Union’s justice commissioner has warned that changes made by Google to its privacy policy are in breach of European data protection law.

Google’s policy change which was implemented yesterday by the search engine giants means private data collected by one Google service can be shared with its other platforms including YouTube and Gmail.

Under the new privacy policy, users don’t have the option to opt out if they want to continue using Google’s services.

Data protection agencies across Europe have concluded that the new privacy policy is in breach of EU law, with France’s data protection watchdog, the CNIL, also casting doubt on the legality of the policy – and they’ve informed Google it would lead a European-wide investigation into the changes.

In a statement, Google have said: “We are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy policy respects all European data protection laws and principles.”

Viviane Reding, the EU’s justice commissioner, when asked how Google’s new privacy policy could be breaking EU law, said: “In numerous respects. One is that nobody had been consulted, it is not in accordance with the law on transparency and it utilises the data of private persons in order to hand it over to third parties, which is not what the users have agreed to.

“Protection of personal data is a basic rule of the European Union. It is inscribed in the treaties. It is not an if, it is a must.”