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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 02:48 PM ET, 05/23/2012

Google privacy: European officials demand more answers

European regulators on Wednesday pressed Google for more information about its new privacy policy, saying the Web giant’s response to questions so far has been “often incomplete or approximate.”

France’s Commission Nationale de L’Informatique et des Libertés, or CNIL, sent additional questions to the Silicon Valley search giant as it investigates the company’s privacy policy changes for potential harm to consumers.

Google was asked to respond to the questions by June 8.

“CNIL considers it impossible to know Google’s processings of personal data, as well as the links between collected data, purposes and recipients, and that the obligation of information of the data subjects is not respected,” the officials said in a statement.

On March 1, Google began to combine data across its services for signed-on users — a move that would allow the company to build much more complete portraits of its users. Those profiles would enable Google to sell more targeted ads to the users.

The company has argued that the policy applies only to users who are signed on to a Google account, such as Gmail and GoogleDocs. But privacy groups blasted the new policy for not allowing account holders who did not agree to the changes to opt out.

Google is facing scrutiny from U.S. and European regulators on privacy and antitrust allegations. European antitrust enforcement officials said earlier this week that they found four areas of concern about competition with Google’s main search service and that it was open to voluntary remedies.

The Federal Trade Commission is also investigating Google’s competition practices, as competing travel and advertising firms complain the company blocks out rival services.


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By  |  02:48 PM ET, 05/23/2012

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