EU agencies say Google breaking law: commissioner

Thu Mar 1, 2012 9:44am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Data protection agencies in European countries have concluded Google Inc's new privacy policy is in breach of European law, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Thursday.

France's data protection watchdog, the CNIL, has also cast doubt on the legality of the policy and informed Google it would lead a European-wide investigation into this.

Reding told BBC Radio Four data control authorities in Europe asked French counterparts to analyze the new policy.

"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," Reding said.

Google said in January it was simplifying its privacy policy, consolidating 60 guidelines into a single one that will apply to all its services including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+.

Users cannot opt out of the new policy if they want to continue using Google's services.

Asked in what respects the policy could be breaking EU law, Reding said: "In numerous respects. One is that nobody had been consulted, it is not in accordance with the law on transparency and it utilizes the data of private persons in order to hand it over to third parties, which is not what the users have agreed to."

It would have been impossible for Google to instigate the policy under proposed legislation she laid out on January 25, Reding said.

"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," she said.   Continued...

 
A man walks past a Google logo drawn with chalk on a wall at the Google campus near Venice Beach, in Los Angeles, California January 13, 2012.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson