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Consumer Watchdog recently praised European data protection authorities for asking Google to delay implementation of its new privacy and data policies and said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission should determine whether the new policies violate the terms of Google’s consent agreement with the commission.
Under the new policies, announced by Google last week, the Internet giant would combine data from different services that it had kept separate in the past.
“Google is making a huge change that weakens your privacy protection,” said John M. Simpson, Director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project. “I am glad the Europeans have taken the lead on this, but now it’s imperative that the FTC determine if Google has violated its consent agreement. I think they have. Google is using your data in a new way and not making the change on an opt-in basis as the consent agreement requires.”
Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Article 29 Working Party, an association of the data commissioners from the European Union, wrote Google CEO Larry Page seeking the delay in implementing the policies, due to go into effect March 1.
He said the French data protection authority, the CNIL, would take the lead in the analysis. Google’s consent agreement with the FTC came as a result of the “Buzz” debacle in which the Internet giant displayed users’ email addresses without their consent as it tried to launch a social network. Under the terms of the agreement, Google can’t use data it has collected in new ways unless users opt in to the new use.
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