EU says Google’s new privacy policy breaking European law; Google explains new privacy policy

“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,” Estelle Shirbon reports for Reuters. “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,” Shirbon reports. “‘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.”

Shirbon reports, “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.”

Read more in the full article here.

Alma Whitten, Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering at Google has posted the following blog post regarding the company’s new privacy policy:

Our updated Privacy Policy takes effect today, March 1. As you use our products one thing will be clear: it’s the same Google experience that you’re used to, with the same controls.

And because we’re making these changes, over time we’ll be able to improve our products in ways that help our users get the most from the web.

While we’ve undertaken the most extensive user education campaign in our history to explain the coming changes, we know there has been a fair amount of chatter and confusion.

Here are a few important points to bear in mind:

Our Privacy Policy is now much easier to understand.

We’ve included the key parts from more than 60 product-specific notices into our main Google Privacy Policy—so there’s no longer any need to be your own mini search engine if you want to work out what’s going on. Our Privacy Policy now explains, for the vast majority of our services, what data we’re collecting and how we may use it, in plain language.

Our Privacy Policy will enable us to build a better, more intuitive user experience across Google for signed-in users.

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.

So in the future, if you do frequent searches for Jamie Oliver, we could recommend Jamie Oliver videos when you’re looking for recipes on YouTube—or we might suggest ads for his cookbooks when you’re on other Google properties.

Our privacy controls aren’t changing.

The new policy doesn’t change any existing privacy settings or how any personal information is shared outside of Google. We aren’t collecting any new or additional information about users. We won’t be selling your personal data. And we will continue to employ industry-leading security to keep your information safe.

If you don’t think information sharing will improve your experience, you can use our privacy tools to do things like edit or turn off your search history and YouTube history, control the way Google tailors ads to your interests and browse the web “incognito” using Chrome. You can use services like Search, Maps and YouTube if you are not signed in. You can even separate your information into different accounts, since we don’t combine personal information across them. And we’re committed to data liberation, so if you want to take your information elsewhere you can.

We’ll continue to look for ways to make it simpler for you to understand and control how we use the information you entrust to us. We build Google for you, and we think these changes will make our services even better.

Source: Official Google Blog

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


    1. You and many many others.

      For the rest of you, go sign in to your Google account and go clear your history completely. Then close/deactivate your entire Google account. You have to actively check all the different options like gmail, youtube, feeder, etc.

      It’s not the end, though but it’s a good way to start de-googling your life, which ought to be everyone’s top priority.

      1. Don’t close your Google account(s) – just don’t use them.

        While Internet companies love to crow about how many users they have signed up, they sweat the users that don’t use their service. All that non-revenue, don’t you know.

    1. Me too. It’s all getting a bit too creepy.
      I am going through the arduous process of deleting as much as I can from Google’s servers. Here is a hint: Gmail is the glue that ties it all together. I’m canceling my Gmail account asap and recommending that everyone do the same.

      I think they’ve had my information for too long and I have had it with buying something online only to see ads for that product over and over again on subsequent trips to the web.

      We have been duped – ‘free’ services are anything but free. The price we are paying is our freedom and privacy.

  1. Can we even trust Google’s privacy tools? It can easily circumvent any roadblocks without the users knowing it. The case with its sneaky workaround with Safari browser is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Google is a serial miscreant and has consistently violated privacy concerns on many occasions. They are consistently breaching the boundary of decency hoping that it will not be found out. Google’s practice of playing cunning cat-and-mouse maneuvers will not be good in the long run for every body except for itself and the government. If Google can make the watering down of privacy rules the new normal, it would be a boon to the government. The government’s attempts to breach the privacy of its citizens would be made much easier if a powerful third-party entity like Google can establish the groundwork.

    I suspect Google is a trojan horse working for the government because it has always got away with the mere slap on the waist for its many privacy misadventures in the past. If Google can pull the wool over the eyes of consumers, it will be dark days for the future, especially when apologists of Google have been telling everyone that it is normal for privacy to take the back seat in the Internet age if they want free stuff.

  2. Google search alternatives

    Google Map alternatives:
    Bing Maps(NAVTEQ)
    Yahoo Maps (By Nokia)

    GMail alternatives
    Windows Live

    1. @MEES: Thanks for your research and the comprehensive list.

      Add for search: Duck Duck Go. They have a Safari plugin that will set up your search bar as “yahoo” but then DDG does the ad-free search. Fast, Friendly, Safe, just like your old Greyhound Bus Driver.

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