Google privacy policy inquiry set for September ruling

Google will find out in September whether it has fallen foul of EU data protection rules following the merging of its privacy policies earlier this year.

France's data protection agency said it is looking to wrap up the inquiry over Google's privacy policy merger and will likely give its verdict in September, reports Reuters.

Google remains at the centre of a privacy storm that saw European regulators riled and demanding answers as to why it combined some 70 privacy policies from its products and services and smashed them into a one-size-fits-all document.

The search giant said it warned users of the changes for months in the run up to the March 1 switchover in form of emails and search page notifications, which it says it designed to improve search results better.

Users cannot opt out of the new data-sharing policy.

The 'simplified' privacy policy shares private user data from one Google product to another, making targeted advertising more focused and the collection of data by government agencies far easier. Simply put, it allows Google to build up an even greater, succinct picture of its users. 

The Article 29 Working Party asked Google to put the changes on ice until it could consider the impact it would have on European citizens, but the company ignored the warning and went ahead on its scheduled date.

The French Commission Nationale de l'Informatique (CNIL) said it planned to make it decision in June on whether Google's move complied with European law, but an influx of documents and paperwork from the search giant delayed the decision. 

The CNIL, which was tasked with probing the regulator with the long arm of the law, will draw its conclusions and present its findings to the European Union's other data regulators later this year.

The inquiry could lead to a slap on the bottom for Google in form of a fine up to €300,000 ($370,000; £240,000) and sanctions against the company's business practices within the EU --- something it would want to avoid. 

However, individual member states could seek their own financial penalties, which could see the fines rack up into the millions of euros.

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