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Google privacy policy changes are 'in breach of EU law'

The European Union justice commissioner has raised doubts about the legality of the changes the search giant has made to its privacy policy today.

Image: Mark Lennihan/AP/Press Association Images

THE EUROPEAN UNION’S Justice Commissioner has said that Google’s changes to its privacy policy are in breach of European law.

Viviane Reding’s comments to BBC Radio 4 came on the day the search engine giant initiated the changes which see private data collected by one Google service being used across other platforms run by the company including YouTube, Gmail and Blogger.

Google says the changes – which see a user’s web history and browsing data gathered and used across its websites – are designed to tailor search results more effectively for users as well as offer better and more targeted advertising.

The company believes its new policy complies with EU law despite doubts being raised in France where the data protection watchdog CNIL wrote to the company to urge a “pause” in the roll out of the changes.

Reding told the BBC that Google’s new policy was a breach of EU data protection law: “That is exactly what the data protection authorities in Europe have come to the conclusion,” she said, adding that the conclusions from an initial CNIL investigation had left her “deeply concerned”.

She has also told the Guardian that data protection commissioners in 27 EU countries have “strong doubts” about the legality of Google’s changes.

Google has insisted that it it happy to meet with CNIL and answer any concerns it may have but the company’s global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, added:

We are committed to providing our users with a seamless experience across Google’s services, and to making our privacy commitments to them easy to understand

Various technology blogs and websites have offered advice to internet users about how to ensure that their Google search histories and browsing data are not used by the tech giant across around 60 different services.

Read: How to delete your Google browsing history ahead of new privacy policy

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Hugh O'Connell

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