Google Answers Half Of France's Questions About Privacy

Chris CrumBusiness

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Google sent a letter to Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, President of CNIL (Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés), the French administrative authority that monitors how companies collect and store personal data of users, in response to a letter and questionnaire the organization gave to Google last month regarding its privacy policy changes. The questionnaire can be read here (pdf).

Google's response only addresses half of the organization's questions, however, and according to Reuters will address the rest by April 15. You can read Google's 18-page response here (pdf).

"In addition to our written responses, Google would, as noted in our letter of February 28, 2012, also welcome the chance to meet with the CNIL to explain and discuss Google’s approach to providing information to users," Google says in the letter. "This is an important issue for us. We have taken a great deal of time and care in designing our approach. In our very first letter to the CNIL on this topic, we emphasised that while we did not feel able to pause the implementation of our Privacy Policy, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss how and where Google provides information to our users. We have reached out many times to the CNIL asking for a meeting to discuss this, and we make that offer again now. We would also welcome attending a Working Party plenary to discuss the concerns of European data protection authorities more generally and to answer their questions."

In the letter, Google goes through examples of its privacy notices to give "a better understanding of the breadth and scale" of its privacy notice architecture.

"We encourage the CNIL to examine the totality of the information Google provides its users,
and how we deliver it, and not just focus on one piece of it, namely the Privacy Policy," Google says. "As the Working Party is well aware, providing all detailed privacy information relating to all Google services in one Privacy Policy document would result in a tome with dozens of pages. Instead, we think we are doing a good job on providing a readable umbrella Privacy Policy together with detailed in-product privacy notices. In any case, we are also happy to consider and discuss any comments or views of the CNIL or the Working Party with respect to additional information they consider might be helpful to provide to our users in Europe."

Google is dealing with a lot of regulation-related situations in Europe. The company (and its competitors) are also awaiting a decision in an antitrust investigation from the EU, due sometime after Easter.

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.