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You are here: Home / Customer Data / Google Forced Into Privacy Changes
Google Forced To Make Data Privacy Changes
Google Forced To Make Data Privacy Changes
By Jennifer LeClaire / CRM Daily Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
The Internet behemoth doesn’t take kindly to being forced to do anything. However, Google had little choice but to comply with demands from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the United Kingdom’s independent authority that promotes individual privacy, to do a better job communicating with its users.

The ICO is forcing Google to improve the information it provides to people about how it collects personal data in the UK. The demands come after concerns emerged about changes to the company’s privacy policy. The ICO concluded that Google was being too vague in the way it described how it uses the personal data it gathers from web services and other products.

“This undertaking marks a significant step forward following a long investigation and extensive dialogue,” said Steve Eckersley, Head of Enforcement at the ICO. “Google’s commitment today to make these necessary changes will improve the information UK consumers receive when using their online services and products.”

Adhering to Data Privacy Laws

Here’s the backstory: Google introduced a new privacy policy in March 2012 that combined about 70 existing policies for various services. The ICO ruled that Google’s then-new policy did not include enough information for its users about how and why their personal data was being collected.

“Whilst our investigation concluded that this case hasn’t resulted in substantial damage and distress to consumers, it is still important for organizations to properly understand the impact of their actions and the requirement to comply with data protection law,” said Eckersley. “Ensuring that personal data is processed fairly and transparently is a key requirement of the [Data Protection] Act.”

Google has now agreed to make more changes to its privacy policy to ensure it meets the requirements of the Data Protection Act. In addition, the search giant said it will take steps to ensure that future changes to its privacy policy comply, including user testing. Google has to implement the agreed changes by June 30, 2015 and take further steps over the next two years.

According to the Eckersley, the ICO's "investigation has identified some important learning points not only for Google, but also for all organizations operating online, particularly when they seek to combine and use data across services. It is vital that there is clear and effective information available to enable users to understand the implications of their data being combined. The detailed agreement Google has signed setting out its commitments will ensure that.”

Despite Privacy, Breaches Continue

There are strict laws in place to protect data, and watchdog organizations are giving Google, Yahoo and Microsoft fits over privacy, yet we still see massive breaches almost weekly. So what's going wrong?

Kurt Mueffelmann, CEO of Cryptzone, a data protection provider with over 700 customers, told us today’s information security landscape is plagued with vulnerabilities that leave companies, and all too often the personal information of individuals, exposed to the potential of a breach. He’s calling for a fresh approach to network and application security that helps to remove some of the gaps, both internal and external, that lead to data leaking out.

“Giving users access to everything is no longer a viable option with malware attacks and other vulnerabilities allowing hackers to gain entry unnoticed. Companies need to layer their defenses to ensure that they limit what users can see once within the walls of the trusted network, based on who they are and other important variables, and then control what they can do with sensitive information,” he said.

“This will not only help prevent outside attacks but also mitigate risks created by the more unassuming threat, users themselves."

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