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Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 09:03 AM ET, 10/16/2012

Google criticized by EU over privacy policy

European regulators on Tuesday criticized Google’s latest privacy policy, saying the search giant needs to provide clearer information about how it uses consumer data and give users more control over their personal information.

(SeongJoon Cho - Bloomberg)

The report comes as regulators in the U.S. and Europe prepare for possible antitrust cases against the company, as The Washington Post reported.

Google introduced its new privacy policy earlier this year, folding 60 of its services under a single policy. In a letter to the company, regulators said that Google does an inadequate job of informing users how data are shared and used. Regulators also raised concerns about how Google combines data across its services.

“Google empowers itself to collect vast amounts of personal data about internet users, but Google has not demonstrated that this collection was proportionate to the purposes for which they are processed,” the letter said.

Regulators also suggested that Google should provide simple opt-out mechanisms for users to control data collection, provide service-specific privacy policies in addition to its overarching rules and be sure to get explicit consumer consent for the combination of certain data.

The investigation was led by the French data protection agency, CNIL.

Google’s global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer confirmed that the company has received the report and is reviewing it. In a statement, Fleischer said that Google stands behind its policy.

“Our new privacy policy demonstrates our long-standing commitment to protecting our users’ information and creating great products,” he said. “We are confident that our privacy notices respect European law.”

By  |  09:03 AM ET, 10/16/2012

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