French Regulator Asks Google To Delay Privacy Changes

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Google made news last week when they announced a new unified privacy policy for all their services. Although the new privacy policy is far simpler and more straightforward than the various policies Google had in place for their various services before, it has actually stirred a fair bit of controversy from people who fear Google’s ability to track user activity across services like YouTube, Gmail, Google+, and others. The policy even attracted the attention of Congress, and has sparked attempts by Google to set the record straight.

Now the European Union has asked for a pause in the rollout of Google’s privacy policy changes. France's National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties, CNIL, has requested that Google delay the changes, which are scheduled to go into effect March 1. The delay would provide time for the European Union’s Article 29 Working Party, which is tasked with regulating data protection issues, to investigate possible user privacy and data protection concerns.

I contacted a Google spokesperson about the issue, and here's what he had to say:

We briefed most of the members of the working party in the weeks leading up to our announcement. None of them expressed substantial concerns at the time, but of course we're happy to speak with any DPA that has questions. As part of announcing our new privacy policy, we've made the largest communication to users in our history. Delaying the new policy would cause significant confusion.

What do you think? Is Google right to refuse to delay the changes? Is this controversy really much ado about nothing? Sound off in the comments.

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