John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

French Regulators Grill Google on Privacy

Google’s privacy practices have raised eyebrows in yet another country.

In a recent letter to CEO Larry Page, the National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL), France’s data protection authority, criticized Google for deploying its new privacy policy without first addressing the concerns the CNIL detailed in its February letter to the company. And the CNIL put to Google a list of 69 questions it would like answered so that it can determine whether or not the company is complying with European data protection legislation.

Among the CNIL’s questions: Queries about the legitimacy of the need for linking consumer data across services, and some of the subtle tweaks Google has made to language regarding users’ rights and consent. A good example:


A) What does the sentence “We will not reduce your rights under this Privacy Policy without your explicit consent” mean? Please provide examples of reduction of rights that would require explicit consent according to Google’s privacy policy.

B) In this respect, Google removed the sentence “we may give you the opportunity to opt out of combining such information,” which appeared in the previous version of the privacy policy. Do you consider that the fact Google no longer gives the opportunity to opt-out of combining such information constitutes a reduction of the user’s rights?

An interesting question, for which Google, I’m sure, has an equally interesting answer. Indeed, the company is already hard at work preparing it.

“We have received the letter from the CNIL, and we will respond in due course,” Google said in a statement to AllThingsD. “We are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy policy respects all European data protection laws and principles.”

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— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”