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Google’s Privacy Policy Invites Regulator’s Censure in UK

The Information Commissioners Office in UK has ordered Google Inc. to amend its privacy policy to comply with U.K. data laws.

Google Inc. has come under fire from various European countries which have demanded that the Internet search behemoth should fine tune its privacy policies.

The governments of UK, Germany and Italy have warned Google of legal action as its 2012 policy violates the norms pertaining to “commitment to transparency”.

Google May Face ‘Enforcement Action’
Google had, in 2012, unilaterally changed its privacy policy in an attempt to unify data collection. 15 months down the line, the move has attracted invoked the ire of the privacy watchdogs.

“We have today written to Google to confirm our findings relating to the update of the company’s privacy policy. In our letter we confirm that its updated privacy policy raises serious questions about its compliance with the UK Data Protection Act,” stated a representative of the Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO).

This is not the first time that Google has been embroiled in such a controversy in Europe. In the recent past, authorities in France and Spain have also cautioned Google over the manner in which it handles large quantum of data which is replete with personal information of Internet users.

The Mountain View, California based company was in the thick of things when it was censured in Europe because of its Street View system.

Google has now been warned of “enforcement action” if its privacy policies are not modified before September 20, 2013.

Professor Johannes Caspar, the head of the powerful equivalent in Hamburg, intends to summon Google into a legal hearing as the company’s policy violates the “commitment to full transparency about the use and handling of the data".

Meanwhile, Google has claimed that its privacy policy respects European law. The company has also stated that it will fully engage and cooperate with the European authorities.

Strong Sanctions Recommended
Nick Pickles, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch opined that Google has always given priority to profits and in the process ignored the rights of the citizens. He stressed that the authorities should impose heft penalties that deter companies like Google to respect privacy norms.

"The main issue is that sanctions must be strong enough to make Google take real action, rather than the previous meager penalties that are seen as a cost of doing business,” opined Pickles.

“Regulators around the world must act to ensure concrete steps are taken to uphold people’s rights and stop Google routinely trampling on our privacy,” concluded Pickles.