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Thursday, April 30, 2015

German DPA Orders Changes in Google's Policies and Practices

In April, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Johannes Caspar, became the latest European DPA to take enforcement action against Google stemming from its March 2012 introduction of a consolidated privacy policy.  Under the order, Google has until the end of 2015 to be more transparent about how it combines and uses personal information gathered by all the different company services that an individual uses, to obtain consent for such merging of personal data and to limit the combining and processing of the data if consent is not given.  After being fined in France and Spain over the same issue, and facing threatened fines in the Netherlands, Google has already agreed to modify its policy and practices in the UK and Italy.  The company is reported to have presented its plans for substantial changes to European DPAs late in March; the acceptability of these changes is yet to be determined.   One week after Caspar issued his order in Hamburg, the European Commission officially accused Google of antitrust violations that could lead to a fine exceeding €6 billion.

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