Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

EU Wants Google to Stop Ignoring Its Privacy Policy Complaints

Back in October, European regulators told Google they had some edits for its privacy policy, which the company unified early last year. For instance, they wanted a page with all the opt-outs together, and more clarity about how long data is retained. The regulators gave the company four months.



What happened since then? A task force meeting with Google in March, and not much else.

“No change has been seen,” the French CNIL said in a press release today. “After this period has expired, Google has not implemented any significant compliance measures.”

So, what now? Additional investigations and inspections by the Europeans, but this time they’re being called “enforcement actions,” and they’re being conducted by each country individually.

Six countries — France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom — launched actions today based on their own laws. The investigations and inspections could result in fines and restrictions, but it’s not yet clear that those would be significant.

Google sent a statement, “Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the DPAs involved throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward.”

Coincidentally, Google’s director of privacy for product and engineering, Alma Whitten, just retired. She’ll be replaced by another longtime Google engineer, Lawrence You.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik