Europe demands that Google revise privacy policy

Five countries are threatening legal action against the tech giant

By Prachi Gupta
Published July 5, 2013 1:30PM (EDT)

Citing concerns over its data collection practices, the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain are applying pressure on Google to change its privacy policy in Europe.

Google last year revised its privacy policy, standardizing the way it collects data around the world. Some argue, however, that the revisions may violate European privacy laws. From the Hollywood Reporter:

Britain’s Information Commissioner's Office says the new privacy policy, raises "serious questions" about compliance with the U.K. Data Protection Act, which protects citizens' personal data. The office has given Google until September 20 to recast it.

In Germany, privacy advocates have gone one step further. The head of the information protection office in Hamburg has begun formal administrative proceedings against Google, claiming the company’s new policy "violates the company's commitment to full transparency about the use and handling of the data.“

The equivalent watchdogs in France and Spain wrote to Google last month expressing similar concerns. French authorities threatened the company with fines if it did not comply.

Google has released a statement maintaining that "our privacy policy respects European law," however.

"We have engaged fully with the authorities involved throughout this process, and we'll continue to do so going forward," the company says.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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Data Collection Europe Google Internet Privacy