08 Jul 2013

What's Wrong With Google's Privacy Policy?

Last week, it was announced that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had taken action against search engine giant, Google, in regards to their compliance with the UK Data Protection Act. The ICO have stated that their reasoning for the legal action is because Google has not made it clear how user data will be used in their privacy policies.



In a letter sent to Google, the data watchdog has told the search engine that they need to amend their policies before the 20th of September or face formal legal action. “We have written to Google to confirm our findings relating to the update of the company’s privacy policy,” an ICO spokesman said. “We will continue to coordinate our efforts to ensure that people’s privacy rights are respected.”

The ICO is not the only European data authority that has made complaints; this action is actually the result of a coordinated effort with the 27 other data protection authorities present across the continent. This is also not the first time that Google has fallen foul of European data protection authorities – in 2012, they illegally collected data using their Street View cars.

In response to the ICO’s claims about compliance with the UK Data Protection Act, Google released a statement that said: “Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create a simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the authorities involved throughout the process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward.”

If Google fail to update their privacy policies to make them more clear about how the user data collected will be used across all of their products, however, the ICO will not hesitate to take formal enforcement action.