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January 30, 2015

Google Agrees to Change Privacy Policy in the U.K.

Google has agreed to change its privacy policy to avoid facing legal sanctions in the U.K.

The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced today that Google has agreed to sign a formal undertaking to improve the information it provides to people about how it collects personal data in the country.

Google’s new privacy policy, which was updated in March of 2012 to combine approximately 70 policies for various services, has created a lot of headaches for the technology titan in Europe.

The ICO ruled the new policy did not include sufficient information for users of the service on how and why their personal data was being collected.

The document signed by Google obligates the technology firm to change the privacy policy to ensure it meets the requirements of the Data Protection Act. Google must also ensure future changes to its privacy policy comply with the Act and include user testing.

“This undertaking marks a significant step forward following a long investigation and extensive dialogue. Google’s commitment today to make these necessary changes will improve the information U.K. consumers receive when using their online services and products,” ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said in a statement.

“This investigation has identified some important learning points not only for Google, but also for all organizations operating online, particularly when they seek to combine and use data across services. It is vital that there is clear and effective information available to enable users to understand the implications of their data being combined. The detailed agreement Google has signed setting out its commitments will ensure that.”

The agreement Google signed can be read below.

France’s Commission Nationale de L’Informatique et des Liberté and the Spanish Agency for Data Protection have both already issued fines against Google. Both countries slapped Google their maximum penalties, Spain $1.23-million and France $200,000.

Google still faces fines from Germany’s regulator, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, and the Dutch Data Protection Authority.

Google Inc Privacy Policy Undertaking


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.