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Google Must Now Amend its Privacy Policy, UK Watchdog ICO Order

Jul 5 2013, 9:10am CDT | by , in News | Technology News

Google Must Now Amend its Privacy Policy, UK Watchdog ICO Order

After some thoughtful deliberation, the ICO has ordered Google to clean up its act. The privacy policy of the search engine giant requires changes. It has time till the 20th of September to make the necessary amendments.

UK has a guardian angel in the form of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This protection agency has after examining Google’s privacy policy commanded it to make some revisions in it. The corrections are meant to bring the policy into alignment with the UK Data Act. The ICO after extensive collaboration with other European agencies expressed its doubts concerning Google’s rules and regulations. In particular, the ICO pointed out that some of the policy ramifications affected UK users in an unfair manner. They were left with no control in matters having to do with how their personal information will be used across the conglomerate’s products.

An year ago, Google assembled more than 60 privacy policies on a single platform. This did not go too well with the European Union which expressed its reservations. Nevertheless, Google proceeded with its actions. The French too have served a notice to Google regarding similar issues. They even fined the giant $141,300 two years ago due to a breach in the confidentiality of France’s citizens. Even a relatively liberal country such as Sweden had teething troubles with Google’s convoluted privacy policy. The UK has finally decided to put its foot down. And it has the ICO’s approval. If Google doesn’t comply with the ultimatum by the deadline set for September 20th, it faces the threat of formal enforcement action. Other countries that have jumped on the bandwagon are: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

Meanwhile, the response from Google was favorable to a rapprochement. Google wants to make a simpler privacy policy that will satisfy its European user base. The UK’s data protection agency is adamant that changes in the controversial privacy policy are a must. Otherwise a fine of up to $750,000 could be laid at Google’s doorsteps. The main concerns of the ICO are: data provision to Google users and the various ways in which their personal details are being used.

A real beef with Google is that they don’t divulge much to their user base in the United Kingdom. Not only do they need to be clear on how they manipulate and process the data, but they also have to let users know all about the consequences. And if there is any catch to using Google accounts then Google ought to let its users know about that too. Once a certain level of transparency has been achieved, the ICO will lay its reservations to rest.  

Image Credit: Getty Images

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