Europe asks Google to tweak privacy policy

Oct. 16, 2012 at 4:51 PM
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PARIS, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Regulators in Europe that manage privacy issues on the Internet have asked Google to make its policies clearer to users.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that 27 separate regulators sent a letter to Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page requesting the U.S. company make changes on privacy policies that affect a wide range of services offered by the Internet search engine.

One of the main concerns is that data Google collects data on user behavior from various services -- from a basic online search to watching a video on YouTube -- that can be used by Google in ways the average user does not understand.

"The new privacy policy allows an unprecedented combination of data across different Google services. We are not opposed to this, in principle, but the data could be employed in ways that the user is not aware of," said Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, chairwoman of a privacy regulator in France.

Google defended its current policy of not collecting data on consumers unless they opt in, but some have complained that Google bans users from various services unless they hit an "I Agree" button.

Clicking on a button is not a guarantee that a user understands the system or that a user in a hurry has not clicked on the button without scrutinizing the terms of use at all.

"Our new privacy policy demonstrates our longstanding commitment to protecting our users' information and creating great products," said Peter Fleischer, an attorney who handles privacy issues for Google.

In a statement, Google said it was reviewing the letter from regulators.

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