EU data watchdogs want Google privacy changes
The letter, which stopped short of declaring Google’s approach to collecting user data illegal, follows an investigation led by France’s data watchdog, the CNIL, that began in February.
Combining personal data on such a large scale creates high risks to the privacy of users
The regulators’ letter said: “Combining personal data on such a large scale creates high risks to the privacy of users.”
“Therefore, Google should modify its practices when combining data across services for these purposes,” the letter said. It was signed by 24 of EU’s 27 data regulators plus those of Croatia and Liechtenstein.
Google declined to comment. The watchdogs are expected to formally announce their findings later today.
The regulators also want Google to spell out its intentions and methods for combining data collected from its various services. They want the web search giant to ask users for explicit consent when bundling data together, the letter said.
The pooling of anonymous user data across Google services, is a big advantage when targeting online ads.
“They may be prepared to test the legal position in Europe to see what they can get away with.”
The tussle with the EU over data privacy comes at a delicate time for Google. Europe’s antitrust authorities are also examining the company’s business model to see if it uses its clout in search advertising to favour its own services over competitors’ offerings. Google is in talks with EU regulators on the case, and could offer concessions.