The Article 29 Working Party, a collection of data protection agencies across the EU, released a six-page “list of possible compliance measures” this week that cover transparency, user controls, and data retention policies, including suggestions for making management tools more accessible.
Meanwhile, “Google must provide users with more elaborate tools to manage their personal data and to control the usage of their personal data between all Google services,” the EU said. “This could be done by making the current dashboard more accessible (e.g. putting a link in the Google Profile popup) and to include all of Google services.”
Finally, Google must “define [its] retention policies” and keep EU data protection offices abreast of what’s going on.
In 2012, Google moved to consolidate 70 guidelines for multiple product profiles into one. But with that change, Google also created one profile for users rather than separate log-ins for services like YouTube, Search, and Blogger. It’s that account consolidation bit that irked privacy officials in the EU.
Many regulators urged Google to delay the March 2012 rollout. Google, however, stood firm and released it as planned.
That has led to several fines for Google in the EU. In December, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) imposed a €900,000 ($1.15 million) punishment. A month later, France’s CNIL (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés) fined Google €150,000 ($190,945) for similar infractions.
Regulators in four other European countries, including Italy, Germany, the U.K., and the Netherlands, have also opened investigations.
The tech titan is fighting more than just privacy concerns in Europe. Following this summer’s first “right to be forgotten” ruling, Google’s Advisory Council is touring the continent to discuss the new service, which it has reluctantly put into place.
Meanwhile, European Commission Vice President Joaquín Almunia recently re-opened an antitrust case regarding Google’s search business following pushback from rivals—a move which sparked a war of words between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Google.
Earlier this week, Almunia told the European Parliament that he “strongly reject[s] attempts to transform competition enforcement into an ordinary political debate.”
“At the beginning of the month, I have communicated this to the company asking them to improve its proposals. We now need to see if Google can address these issues and allay our concerns,” he continued. “If Google’s reply goes in the right direction, Article 9 proceedings will continue. Otherwise, the logical next step is to prepare a Statement of Objections.”