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Google Could Face EU Action on Privacy Policy

EU data protection commissioners are expected to confirm that Google's pooling of data contravenes privacy regulations.

Google caused controversy earlier this year when it combined previously separately collected data under its services including its search engine, YouTube and Google+. In implementing a unitary privacy policy this effectively pooled data in one location.

The move led to widespread criticism, which is expected to be upheld by the group of 30 data protection commissioners from across the European Union on the grounds that Google has breached EU privacy laws. If confirmed, Google may be forced to reverse the changes.

The changes were criticised in March by the justice commissioner Viviane Reding and data protection commissioners led by French national agency CIL, for not allowing customers the opportunity to opt out. Instead, customers were required to consent to the new policy or delete their entire user profile.

Google responded at the time by saying the changes would simplify user experience and that it was confident that they respected "all European data protection laws and principles". It said users would benefit because it would be able to tailor search results and advertising more specifically to users.

This latest criticism will cause a further headache for Google, who are currently under investigation by the European commission's competition arm for the way it currently orders its search results, uses other sites' content, and controls some elements of advertising.

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