Data Protection |  Oct 28, 2014

Google’s Privacy Policy Questioned

European Union privacy regulators have been urging Google to refine its privacy policies for quite some time. Way back in 2012, Google had amended its policies and ushered a set of consolidated privacy rules to satisfy the European Union’s regulators. However, the consolidation of the privacy rules were not satisfactory since the regulators primarily want Google to provide a comprehensive data policy which must be easily understandable and transparent for its users.

The regulators are constantly urging Google to comply with European Union law, especially data protection rules. The multi-million dollar company has been exposed to heavy criticism mainly because it has been shying away from providing comprehensive data protection details. In fact Google has been urged to inform its users about its data collection activities and to notify its users when any accumulated information is being divulged to third parties.

The unsatisfactory privacy policy re-haul conducted by Google in 2012 fuelled privacy campaigners and European Union privacy regulators to continue questioning Google’s policies. As a result the Article 29 Working Party issued the necessary guidelines to evoke change. The party has issued guidance measures which may be embraced by Google with the aim of adhering to European law.

Google seems to be willing to comply with the European Union’s data protection policies however several Member States have lashed out against Google’s privacy policies. In fact France fined Google 150,000 Euro due to its lack of observance of the Data Protection rules in France. Coincidentally, the company was also fined 900,000 Euro for infringing Spanish data protection laws. The fines imposed by both jurisdictions are the maximum thresholds which may be issued upon an infringement. These legal battles have emanated from Google’s complicated private policy language which makes it difficult for people to discover how their own data is being handled and the way in which it is processed and stored.

Currently, Google is not only struggling with data protection policies but also with the “right to be forgotten” ruling from the EU Court. In fact the company has just wrapped up its tour across Europe to discuss and gather feedback on the progress of this new right and the possibility of removing data upon request.

For information relating to your obligations as a data processor, and for assistance in relation to notification with the Malta Data Protection Commissioner, kindly contact us here.

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