Almost ten days after Google first announced that it was updating its privacy policies and bringing them together under one roof, France’s data-protection agency is leading an EU analysis into the changes, and is asking the Internet giant to “pause” the roll out, which is currently due to take place on March 1, 2012.
In a letter to Google’s co-founder and Chief Executive Larry Page, Jacob Kohnstamm, Chairman of the Article 29 Working Party, said that France’s National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) would be leading an investigation to “check the possible consequences for the protection of the personal data of these citizens in a coordinated procedure,” before requesting Google to “pause” the changes.
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The Article 29 Working Party constitutes representative from the data protection authority of each EU Member State, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission. The full letter is as follows:
“Dear Mr. Page,
We wish to check the possible consequences for the protection of the personal data of these citizens in a coordinated procedure. We have therefore asked the French data protection authority, the CNIL, to take the lead. The CNIL has kindly accepted this task and will be your point of contact for the data protection authorities in the EU.
In light of the above, we call for a pause in the interests of ensuring that there can be no misunderstanding about Google’s commitments to information rights of their users and EU citizens, until we have completed our analysis.
On behalf of the Article 29 Working Party,
Chairman of the Article 29 Working Party”
In Google’s announcement last week, it revealed that it planned to combine its 60+ privacy policies for its various products into a “beautifully simple, intuitive user experience,” but it was met with widespread cynicism. And earlier this week, Microsoft sought to capitalize on the bad publicity by launching its own anti-Google ad campaign.