EU sets deadline for Google over privacy policy

Reuters / Krishnendu Halder
A European regulator is pressuring Google over the change in the way it handles private user data. The US internet search giant has to provide explanations on 69 questions by April 6. The company has pledged to comply.

The French national information commission (CNIL) is probing Google on behalf of the EU’s 27 member states.

The body already indicated that it has “strong doubts” that the American company was legitimate in streamlining user data flows among its different services, including YouTube, Gmail and Google+.

The regulator has prepared a list of questions to Google, asking details on the legal grounds and mechanisms of its implementation. The company has three weeks starting last Friday to explain how it plans to handle collected user data and whether it will be linked to the person's real identity.

Google announced the change of its privacy policy in January and implemented the change in early March. But many privacy advocates and officials in Europe, the US and Japan voiced doubts over the move.

Of particular concerns is that users of smartphones using Google’s Android operating system are subject to the new policy and cannot opt out of it. The data that may be available to the company potentially includes address books, search quarries and use of mapping services.

Google’s business model relies on providing clients free services in exchange for collecting data on their online behavior and placing user-targeted advertising.