Google’s privacy policies are to be investigated by Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to see if they are illegal under UK law.
The move comes after French data protection regulatory CNIL confirmed that Google had made no attempt to meets it concerns over its renewed privacy policies, first unveiled in March 2012, despite its numerous complaints that the changes were illegal.
In a statement on its website, the CNIL confirmed that despite meeting with Google, the firm had refused to take any action to appease its concerns.
“On 19 March 2013, representatives of Google were invited at their request to meet with the taskforce led by the CNIL and composed of data protection authorities of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. Following this meeting, no change has been seen,” it said.
Google did not implement the recommendations within the allotted four months, even after a meeting in March with CNIL and data protection authorities (DPAs) from Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. And now we see the result. According to a CNIL statement on Tuesday:
“It is now up to each national data protection authority to carry out further investigations according to the provisions of its national law transposing European legislation. Consequently, all the authorities composing the taskforce have launched actions on 2 April 2013 on the basis of the provisions laid down in their respective national legislation (investigations, inspections, etc.)
“In particular, the CNIL notified Google of the initiation of an inspection procedure and that it had set up an international administrative cooperation procedure with its counterparts in the taskforce.”
This latest brush with Europe’s data protection watchdogs was triggered by Google’s action last year to consolidate more than 60 separate product privacy notices into one unified policy. After an investigation, European privacy regulators published a list of privacy recommendations for Google, including suggesting the company should make it clearer to users how their personal information may be used, and how it is collected and collated from different services. They also wanted Google to offer users an opt-out. It is these recommendations that Google has apparently failed to comply with, resulting in today’s actions.