Europe calls for Google to be more transparent about data collection

Regulators worldwide have sharpened scrutiny of Google as the company has moved beyond its core search business and into electronic commerce, telecommunications, social media, online videos and more.

Google’s efforts to track users across services such as YouTube and Gmail do not meet European standards of privacy, officials announced Tuesday, in the latest of a growing number of regulatory challenges for the American technology giant.

A letter signed by regulators from 27 countries calls on Google to give users more notice about how their data are collected and seek consent in some cases. The company merged the privacy policies of 60 of its services this year, making it easier to track the behavior of its users but sparking concerns that it was amassing too much personal information.

European regulators did not explicitly call Google’s policy illegal but identified a range of shortcomings that they said could undermine user privacy and confidence in the company. The regulators made numerous recommendations that would allow Google to improve compliance. “As data protection regulators, we expect that Google takes the necessary steps to improve information and clarify the combination of data, and more generally ensure compliance with data protection laws and principles,” the letter said.

Google did not immediately announce any changes.


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