Google's answer to EU as succinct as its privacy policy

Google's answer to EU as succinct as its privacy policy

Summary: Google doesn't have a lot of patience for European regulators who asked the search giant to "pause" the roll out of its new privacy policy, set to launch March 1, so they can explore "possible consequences."


Much like it's forthcoming slimmed down privacy policy, Google was just as succinct in brushing off European privacy regulators Monday.

The search giant refused to cave into requests to delay its revamped privacy policy, slated to go live on March 1, in the face of EU regulators asking for more review time.

Peter Fleischer, global privacy counsel for Google, explained in a three-page letter to Jacob Kohnstamm, president of the Dutch Data Protection Authority and chairman of the Article 29 Working Party, why Google merged it privacy policies into one document that covers all of the company's online properties.

Google's policy changes have invited pointed questions for the U.S. government, European Union and advocacy groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public interest research group, and

Fleischer told  Kohnstamm, "As you will know, we had extensively pre-briefed data protection authorities across the EU prior to the launch of our notification to users on 24 January 2012. At no stage did any EU regulator suggest that any sort of pause would be appropriate."

He said 350 million Google account users had already been notified of the impending changes.

The Article 29 Working Party, launched in 1996, is made up of a representatives from the data protection authority of each EU member state, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission. It is a watchdog group concerned with the protection of individuals in regard to processing their personal data and the free movement of that data.

Kohnstamm on Friday had sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page asking for a "pause" in the roll out of Google's new policies so the EU states could determine "possible consequences for the protection of the personal data of [our] citizens."

He told Page the French data protection authority, known as the CNIL, would take the lead on the matter.

But the French agency didn't get much to work with.

Google's Fleischer ended his letter with the only offer he would make toward honoring the EU request.

"We hope this overview of our updated privacy policy will help to address your concerns. We are happy to discuss this further with the CNIL should they want to approach us for a meeting, or to answer any written questions the Working Party may have.

The letter closed with "Yours sincerely" and Fleischer's signature.

Topics: Government US, Data Centers, Data Management, Google, Government, Government UK, Storage


John Fontana is a journalist focusing on authentication, identity, privacy and security issues. Currently, he is the Identity Evangelist for strong authentication vendor Yubico, where he also blogs about industry issues and standards work, including the FIDO Alliance.

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  • google does not have to apologize to EU

    The EU should butt off since google keeps its users happy.
    The bureaucrats at EC fail to recognize google's exceptional values!
    LlNUX Geek
    • RE: Google's answer to EU as succinct as its privacy policy

      @Linux Guru Advocate - Ohhhh ... so the EU should butt out of interfering with Google but you applaud their meddling in whether Microsoft should be allowed to ship its own browser in its own OS?

      Cue the double-standards.
      Sgt. Colon
  • RE: Google's answer to EU as succinct as its privacy policy

    I am not surprise that Google has no patents for Europe. First reports out of Europe was that they approve of the changes, changes which they apparently has weeks to analyse an respond to, same with the FTC, an after a few days of over the top press coverage they are suddenly asking for a pause for a undefined period of time. When they had weeks prior to the launch by Google to request. I would have responded to that request with far worst language than Google.
    • RE: Google's answer to EU as succinct as its privacy policy


      Google is right in that sense but I would caution against poking the bear with French elections coming up as their likely to get themselves investigated out of spite
  • RE: Google's answer to EU as succinct as its privacy policy

    Time to dump Google..........
  • RE: Google's answer to EU as succinct as its privacy policy

    Honestly, has anyone read the new TOS and Privacy Policy? It is easy to read and understand exactly what you are agreeing to.

    Read a Microsoft or AutoDesk TOS for any cloud based service, you will find that they reserve the right to share your content that you upload to anyone they so choose, for any reason. This could even be to your competition.

    This goes a lot further than Google does and are really difficult to completely understand (something they are counting on, so that you don't question it). Google limits what it will use it for to maintaining, improving, repairing or marketing their services.

    Honestly, I think Google's approach is much better than most (although I don't like them being able to use my content for marketing).
  • RE: Google's answer to EU as succinct as its privacy policy

    Frankly, if more than a week ago EU regulators had already been 'extensively briefed,' and the update is not slated to take effect for another three weeks, then asking Google to put the update on hold without citing a specific concern is ridiculous. If the EU finds a breach of regulation then they may of course require Google to address it (and if they've already found one, they should state it). The new privacy policy is not that long nor is it difficult to understand, and they should not expect Google to wait around while they try to wrap their bureaucratic heads around it.