Google privacy changes found to violate Dutch law

Dutch watchdog concerned over Google privacy changes

A Dutch watchdog has found that Google is in violation of data protection law in the country following a seven month investigation.

Of particular concern was the fact that Google combines personal data from different online services in order to tailor ads and services to an individual. Chairman of the College for the Protection of Personal Data Jacob Kohnstamm has said Google "spins an invisible web of our personal information without our permission, and that is outlawed."

In response to this verdict, Google has said "Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services". The search engine giant claims that it gathers personal data in order to provide users with an adequate level of detailed information.

Investigation across European nations

A number of European governments have investigated the changes to the Google privacy policy including France, Spain, Germany, Britain, Italy and the Netherlands.

Users have also raised a number of concerns over the Google terms of service, such as a recent tweak to terms of service which allows Google to add user profile names and photos to ads, as well as the rising data requests said to be being made by governments.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, has said: "While Google says that it gathers data in order to provide users with an improved experience, this has raised concerns in many EU countries. While Google has acted to improve awareness of its privacy policy in the past, it will be interesting to see how Google engages and works with the Dutch DPA following their recent claim."