Japan warns Google that its new privacy policy may violate data protection laws [Updated]

Japan warns Google that its new privacy policy may violate data protection laws [Updated]

The Japanese government has warned Google to tread carefully with its new privacy policy, as the controversial new regulations were rolled out today

Authorities wrote to Google [Japanese] amidst concerns within the country that the new approach to storing and using Internet user’s data could violate Japan’s data protection laws. The government has asked Google to prepare a clear explanation of the impact of the rules and respond to any user feedback that it receives going forward, according to Tokyo Times report.

The Internet giant’s new privacy move has raised concerns in a number of other countries too. Earlier this month, the government of fellow Asian country South Korea began investigating the possibility that the search giant was violating laws there.

Elsewhere, concern and pressure in the US prompted Google to write a letter to Congress explaining the move. The Web giant also provided a similar explanation to the European Union, after it rejected the organisation’s appeal to “pause” the introduction of the new policy.

However, the drama in Europe isn’t finished yet. This week, French regulators announced their intention to launch an investigation, claiming that the policy doesn’t conform to EU law.

The new privacy policy is aimed at unifying Google’s user data into one place as it takes a more proactive approach toward getting more relevant results to users no matter where they are. What is perhaps slightly different is that the blanket policy means that you will be treated as a single user across all Google services. So if you’re watching a YouTube video about cats, you might see a Google.com ad for pet food.

In a blog post published today Google explains the changes, while it also clarifies that its “privacy controls aren’t changing”:

If you’re signed in to Google, you expect our products to work really beautifully together. For example, if you’re working on Google Docs and you want to share it with someone on Gmail, you want their email right there ready to use.

Our privacy policies have always allowed us to combine information from different products with your account—effectively using your data to provide you with a better service. However, we’ve been restricted in our ability to combine your YouTube and Search histories with other information in your account.

Our new Privacy Policy gets rid of those inconsistencies so we can make more of your information available to you when using Google.

But, don’t take their word alone on it.

BBC reporter Kate Russell spent yesterday combing from the terms and conditions for The Next Web to see just how evil they are. You can read her thoughts, and explanation why it won’t step her from using Google services, in her guest post.

Google has seen itself enveloped in other privacy concerns of late, after Wall Street Journal report found that it had been knowingly overriding security settings on Apple’s Safari browser. Google claims it was accidental and that the company was not spying or collecting data from Internet users.

Update: This article has been amended to reflect that the Japanese government ‘s correspondence with Google [Japanese] requested the company to be careful with its privacy policy, but it — the government — did not state that the policy itself is in conflict with laws.

A Google spokesperson told The Next Web that the company has no concerns with the policy in Japan:

We’re confident that our updated privacy policy is compliant with Japanese law. Of course, we are happy to continue discussions in Japan and with regulators globally

Image courtesy of Dmitriy Shironosov / Shutterstock.com

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