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Google still under European scrutiny

5/30/2012

A French organization evaluating changes to Google's privacy policy and terms of use recently expressed dissatisfaction with the U.S. company's first responses to a questionnaire.

Google consolidated about 70 disparate privacy policies into a single policy governing a variety of Google-owned websites, such as YouTube and Blogger. That change took effect on March 1, after which the European Commission tasked the French organization, CNIL, with investigating the implications of the changes as they relate to EU privacy laws. CNIL sent its initial questionnaire on March 16.

After receiving Google's reply on April 20, CNIL sent a follow-up questionnaire and gave Google until June 8 to reply.

On May 23, CNIL met with Google representatives and issued a statement outlining its concerns. The group would like the search engine giant to "clarify the actual effects of Google's opt-out mechanisms," for example, and wants Google to name a "maximum retention period for the data" collected on its sites.

The answers Google provides will be analyzed by CNIL and presented to the Article 29 Working Party, which will judge whether the policies adhere to European standards and issue recommendations for any changes to the policy it deems necessary.

Google is not the only U.S. company under pressure from Europe due to privacy policy and terms of use changes. A group called Europe v. Facebook, founded by an Austrian law student, has rallied opponents of Facebook's data use policies.