Google Privacy Policy introduced

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Google Privacy Policy rolled out

Google's new Privacy Policy has been introduced today despite criticism from across the world.

At midnight on 1 March 2012, Google updated the rules that control how it handles customer data by combining more than 60 product-specific terms and conditions into one document. The revised Privacy Policy allows the company to share data between any of its products - so for example, a user's YouTube search history can now be interpreted to deliver more targeted advertising on Gmail.

Countries line up against Google

Several countries have expressed concern about Google's approach to privacy, reports the Guardian. Eight US lawmakers wrote to Google in January, warning that the move could impact on privacy. Meanwhile, Japan's trade and industrial ministry said the company needed to address the concerns of customers. And France's data protection watchdog, the CNIL, wrote to Google this week, vowing to lead a pan-European investigation.

"The CNIL and EU data authorities are deeply concerned about the combination of personal data across services: they have strong doubts about the lawfulness and fairness of such processing and its compliance with European data protection legislation," the watchdog stated. However, Google defended the change in a new blog post, entitled Google's new Privacy Policy, in which it argued that the unified document is easier to understand and paves the way for a more intuitive user experience, and will not lead to additional information being collected.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "Google's business model is built on delivering highly targeted advertising within its free products, and this requires it to collect as much data on users as possible. The company needs to try harder to teach people about managing their privacy settings, though, or else the heavy criticism it is currently receiving is likely to continue."