European Law Enforcement Agencies Launch Parallel Investigations Into Google Privacy Policies

By Cameron Scott 

privacy, search, internet, google, social networks, social media, google+

1000 Words /

European authorities are now individually investigating Google’s privacy practices after a four-month deadline set by a joint body expired with no response from Google.

The joint committee’s mandate is at an end, so it delegated further handling of the matter to the participating national data protection authorities effective today.

The inquiries relate to Google’s move in March 2012 to unify user profiles across its multiple services with the same privacy policy.

“The ICO has launched an investigation into whether Google’s revised March 2012 privacy policy is compliant with the Data Protection Act. … Several data protection authorities across Europe are now considering whether the policy is compliant with their own national legislation,” the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office said in a statement.

In October, the European committee gave Google four months to make clarifications to its privacy policy and provide and a more transparent opt-out process for its different services.

Google did not make the changes, and instead asked for a meeting with the committee in mid-March.

“Following this meeting, no change has been seen,” said French authorities in a press release.

A Google spokesperson said the company was complying with the process.

“Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the DPAs [data protection agencies] involved throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward,” she said.

The bodies can slap Google with fines or could potentially bar the search giant, which handles 95 percent of all search queries in Europe, from operating there.