In a challenge to how Google Inc. treats users’ personal information, European regulators have asked the search giant to make changes to what it discloses to users about what it does with the data and how long it keeps it.
In a letter sent to Google on Tuesday, French regulators said they were concerned that Google does not make it clear enough what data it’s collecting or how it will be used and that it’s difficult for users to opt out of the data collection.
U.S. privacy watchdogs applauded the letter, which was signed by all 27 European Union countries.
“EU policymakers have drilled down beneath the veneer of Google’s claim that it always places its users’ privacy first. They found, as did many U.S. consumer groups, that Google’s move was really designed so it could collect more data on each of its users,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.
Google’s global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, said in an emailed statement that the company is reviewing the commission’s report.
“We are confident that our privacy notices respect European law,” he said.
“Many, many organizations, experts and agencies were concerned when Google announced its plan to combine user data,” Rotenberg said.
Google has gotten into privacy scrapes in Europe, where privacy laws are more stringent. Its highest-profile gaffe: Its Street View vehicles collected personal data from unsecured wireless networks. The company said it inadvertently collected the information.
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