Germany Wants Changes To Google's Privacy Policy

Chris CrumIT Management

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Google's "new" privacy policy, which went into effect in 2012, continues to draw controversy and government attention, particularly in Europe.

This week, the company was ordered by regulators in Germany to limit how it combines user data from its various products, specifically in such a way that finds out users' sexual orientation and marital status.

This is according to Bloomberg, which reports:

The operator of the biggest Internet search engine was ordered to modify its privacy policies so users have the ability to determine how their data is used, Johannes Caspar, Hamburg’s privacy watchdog, said in an e-mailed statement today. The terms of Google’s 2012 privacy policy allow the Mountain View, California-based company to combine data it retrieves when customers use various services, including Gmail, Caspar said.

“With that, one can compile detailed movement patterns, detect the social and financial status, and friendship, sexual orientation and the relationship status” of a person, the regulator said.

Google has been dealing with regulators across the continent since it first introduced the policy. It has also had noteworthy battles in France and Italy.

Basically, when Google implemented the new privacy policy, it wasn't changing the way it collected data about its users. Nothing new was being collected, and it wasn't being shared with other companies in any new ways. The main difference was that the policy enabled Google to share user data with itself, from product to product.

Google did this so that it could better personalize experiences across its various products. It could use data it had about you from Google Search, for example, to improve recommendations on YouTube.

Either way, opponents don't want Google to use all of its data across services because they think it's a violation of data protection rights. It's unclear what Google's next move is.

Image via Google

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.