Google Privacy Policy in Hot Water in Europe

Google Privacy Policy in Hot Water in Europe

Better watch out Google! The UK, Germany and other European countries are hot on your trail, requesting you to rewrite your privacy policy in Europe or face legal action!

Google Privacy Policy in Hot Water in EuropeHaving already been censored in Europe because of its collection of Wi-Fi data (usernames, passwords and web page viewing, while collecting photos for its Street View system), Google is being targeted and emotions are flaring about the vast amount of personal data it collects on a daily basis from users.

The UK Google

The UK is questioning Google’s compliance with their Data Protection Act (DPA), which sets rules for processing personal information and requires personal data to be:

  • Fairly and lawfully processed;
  • Processed for limited purposes;
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  • Accurate;
  • Not kept for longer than is necessary;
  • Processed in line with an individual’s rights;
  • Secure; and
  • Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.

According to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, Google’s privacy policy, introduced in March 2012, raises “serious questions,” and Google has until September 20, 2013 to recast it before the UK seeks legal recourse.

German Google

About 930 miles away, in Hamburg, Germany, Johannes Caspar, head of the Data Protection Agency (DPA) in Hamburg, Germany, and an outspoken critic of Google, has had nothing but issues with the search engine.

In 2010, Google wanted its Street View mapping service of 20 German cities to go live by November of that year; however, because Germany has some tough privacy laws, probably due to Germans suffering under Nazi and East German rule historically, Google extended the deadline to October 15th of 2010 to allow people to opt-out of Street View. By opting out, the homes of German citizens would be removed before Google launched this service.

Caspar, however, said that his “concerns about implementing these complex opt-out proceedings were unfortunately not respected.”

This prompted the Berlin government to meet with Google representatives to agree on finding a way of respecting privacy.

Caspar is currently responding to Google’s privacy policy, because it “violates the company’s commitment to full transparency about the use and handling of the data.”

Like the UK, Germany is ready to take legal action against Google. In fact, Italy, France and Spain have also joined this battle, threatening Google with fines if they don’t comply.

Ultimately, it seems it’s about examining countries’ privacy policies as well as what Google actually does with the data it collects.


About the Author

Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.

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