Google Blinks On Privacy, Agrees To Make Changes In UK
UK action suggests Google will agree to EU-wide demands to change policy.
This decision is consistent with complaints from other European countries. According to the BBC, Google will make the following concrete changes to comply with the UK’s data protection rules:
- Redesign its settings to allow users to find privacy controls more easily
- Provide “unambiguous and comprehensive information regarding data processing, including an exhaustive list of the types of data processed by Google and the purposes for which data is processed”
- Include information about which third parties may collect “anonymous identifiers” and how the data may be used
- Ensure that “passive users are better informed about the processing of their data” (non-signed-in users)
Google has until the end of June this year to implement the changes in the UK.
This agreement is undoubtedly a prelude to an announcement of similar changes throughout Europe. I would expect that announcement to come in the next few weeks.
If so, it will be hailed as a major victory by European regulators. The many EU data protection authorities were working largely in concert to try to compel Google to make a series of requested privacy changes that go to the scope of data usage and disclosures to consumers.
Google was previously fined in Spain and France after being found to have violated those countries’ domestic privacy rules. Assuming Google makes these (and perhaps other) changes throughout Europe, it’s not clear whether there will be any impact on user behavior. Probably not.
More interesting to consider is how these changes might impact Google’s ability to use data for ad-targeting purposes.