Italy gives Google 18 months to change data use practices




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BY DANILO MASONI

MILAN – ’s data protection regulator has given 18 months to change the way it treats and stores user data, bringing to an end an investigation is part of a drive to reform the internet giant’s privacy practices.

Regulators several nations including began a joint inquiry last year after consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one, combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network +. It gave users no means to opt .

a statement on Monday, the Italian watchdog said ’s disclosure to users on how data was being treated remained inadequate, despite the having taken steps to abide by local law.

The watchdog gave the group 18 months to comply fully and indicated a series of measures Google must put into practice.

The Rome-based regulator said Google would not be allowed to the data to profile users without prior consent and would have to tell them explicitly the profiling was being done for commercial purposes. It also demanded requests from users with a Google account to delete personal data be met up to two months.

A spokesman for Google said the had always cooperated with the regulator and would continue to do so, adding it would carefully the regulator’s decision before taking any further steps. [eap_ad_2] As part of the process, Google also agreed to present a document by the end of September will set a roadmap of steps to comply fully with the Italian regulator’s decision.

A source familiar with the regulator said should Google not comply it could risk fines of up to about 1 million euros, a tiny fraction of Google’s income, as well as possible criminal proceedings. Regulators in France and Spain have already fined Google for breaking local laws on data protection, underscoring growing concerns across Europe about the volume of personal data that is held in jurisdictions.

In Britain, the ICO regulator gave Google until September 20 last year to make changes to bring the policy into line with local law. On Monday a spokesman did not return a request for comment asking for an update on the case.

In the Netherlands, the data protection regulator found in November that Google’s privacy policy was in breach of local law. A spokeswoman said the Dutch regulator was weighing whether to take enforcement measures, which can include fines.

In a separate regulatory development, Google is taking initial steps to meet a ruling that citizens can have objectionable links removed from Internet search results, a ruling that pleased privacy campaigners but raised fears that the right could be abused to hide negative . (Reuters)[eap_ad_3]