UK watchdog ICO orders Google to amend its privacy policy by September 20

UK watchdog ICO orders Google to amend its privacy policy by September 20

UK watchdog Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has given Google until September 20 to amend its privacy policy, deeming that it raises “serious questions” about compliance with the UK data act.

In a statement, ICO said it has worked with other members of the Article 29 Working Party, made up of other 27 data protection authorities from across Europe, and explained its beef with Google’s privacy policy:

In particular, we believe that the updated policy does not provide sufficient information to enable UK users of Google’s services to understand how their data will be used across all of the company’s products.

In January last year, Google announced plans to bring its 60+ privacy policies for its various products “under one roof”, but the EU has consistently been uneasy with the change, right from February 3 when Jacob Kohnstamm, Chairman of the Article 29 Working Party, wrote to Larry Page with an unsuccessful request for the introduction to be “paused”. The policy, however, went live in March.

ICO’s latest move comes soon after it served an enforcement notice to Google demanding that it delete any remaining payload data previously obtained by its Street View cars.

Privacy controversies have been extremely heated in the European Union, and Google has been entangled in the debate. The UK’s move also comes hot on the heels of France ordering Google to make changes to its policy regarding Internet users’ data within three months or face fines.

Recently, Sweden’s data protection agency ruled to disallow an agreement between a tiny municipality and Google for the use of cloud services, such as Google Apps, within the public body. In 2011, France handed Google a record fine of €100,000 ($141,300 circa 2011) for breaching the privacy of French citizens by collecting and storing sensitive data from neighborhood Wi-Fi networks using its Street View cars.

Image Credit: Ralph Orlowski via Getty Images

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