What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Google privacy policy challenged in the EU

Stephen Beard Mar 2, 2012

Adriene Hill: Now to Europe, where we may be approaching a showdown between the European Union and Google over the website’s new privacy policy. One of the EU’s most senior officials says the new policy breaks European law.

Here’s Marketplace’s Stephen Beard.

Stephen Beard: Google’s new privacy policy has raised hackles among users on both sides of the Pond. Personal data that the company collects through one of its services like Gmail will now be shared with all the others like You Tube. In the U.S., 37 state attorneys general have expressed their alarm about this new approach.

Now, Viviane Reding the EU’s Justice Commissioner, has gone further. She told the BBC she believes this is illegal under European law.

Viviane Reding: We have European rules which says very clearly that the data of the individual belongs to the individual. And it is the individual who decides what happens to this data, and not a company.

Google claims that its new policy is not illegal and will provide more relevant search results. The company adds that anyone can avoid targeted advertising by not logging into Google services. But Google must be worried.

The last big U.S. computer company to fall foul of European law was Microsoft and it was slapped with one of the largest ever EU fines of more than a billion dollars.

In London, I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

News and information you need, from a source you trust.

In a world where it’s easier to find disinformation than real information, trustworthy journalism is critical to our democracy and our everyday lives. And you rely on Marketplace to be that objective, credible source, each and every day.

This vital work isn’t possible without you. Marketplace is sustained by our community of Investors—listeners, readers, and donors like you who believe that a free press is essential – and worth supporting.

Stand up for independent news—become a Marketplace Investor today with a donation in any amount.