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Google faces legal action in six European countries over privacy

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By John Glenday, Reporter

April 3, 2013 | 2 min read

Data protection agencies in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK have simultaneously announced that they are considering undertaking legal action over Google’s privacy policy.

The threat was made after Google ignored a four-month deadline imposed by the nations to amend its policy, merely issuing a statement instead in which it said it ‘respects European law’.

It follows a report by the European Commission in October last year which found that Google’s privacy policy did not in fact meet its data protection standards after it was updated to one set of guidelines for all its services.

In response it handed Google a four month deadline to open up access to individuals to see what information was held on them and provide tools to manage this data. The internet giant was also told to take more care to limit the amount of data it held on individuals.

However Google hasn’t implemented any ‘significant compliance measures’ in that time according to the nations – who will now pursue individual investigations of their own into how it handles policy.

A Google spokesman said: "Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services.

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

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