Last week, Google announced changes in its privacy policies that will affect users of its services, such as search, Gmail, Google+ and YouTube. Advocates and legislators questioned the changes, saying that there were privacy issues, and criticized the Internet services giant (Congress pdf; archive pdf) for not including an opt-out provision; Google said that users who objected could stop using its services and move their data elsewhere. Google responded to the criticisms in a letter (pdf) to U.S. lawmakers and a blog post.
We wish to check the possible consequences for the protection of the personal data of these citizens in a coordinated procedure. We have therefore asked the French data protection authority, the CNIL, to take the lead. The CNIL has kindly accepted this task and will be your point of contact for the data protection authorities in the EU.
In light of the above, we call for a pause in the interests of ensuring that there can be no misunderstanding about Google’s commitments to information rights of their users and EU citizens, until we have completed our analysis.
Google said Friday it was prepared to answer any questions raised by the investigation but gave no indication that it would delay the changes.
The company suggested that any delay instituting the new policy would harm rather than help consumers.
The working party is advisory and has no enforcement powers, so any pressure on Google to make changes would need to be exerted through the 27 national authorities.
The French national regulator, the National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties, known as CNIL, will coordinate the investigation.