EU regulators tell Google its current privacy policy has to go

Officials in the U.K. today have joined regulators in France and Spain in taking Google to task over its privacy policy. Spokespersons from the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office said the agency is coordinating with other EU officials to give more muscle to the order.

“We have today written to Google to confirm our findings relating to the update of the company’s privacy policy,” said an ICO spokesperson in a statement.

The country’s Data Protection Act aims to ensure that personal data is used fairly and legally, that it’s not abused or overused, that it’s not stored for too long, and that it’s not given to other countries under normal circumstances.

The spokesperson continued, “In our letter, we confirm that its updated privacy policy raises serious questions about its compliance with the U.K. Data Protection Act. In particular, we believe that the updated policy does not provide sufficient information to enable U.K. users of Google’s services to understand how their data will be used across all of the company’s products.”

As a result, the statement continued, the ICO is ordering Google to update and amend its privacy policy to bring more respect and disclosure to individuals.
Of course, every good bureaucratic order comes with a nondescript threat.
“Failure to take the necessary action to improve the policies compliance with the Data Protection Act by 20 September will leave the company open to the possibility of formal enforcement action,” the statement concluded.

Mere months ago, settled a two-year inquisition with EU regulators over its web search features. And privacy has long been a bone of contention between European citizens and governments and Google. International spying efforts like PRISM are only the latest fuel for the already flaming bonfire of mistrust.