However, critics also pointed out that Google was explicitly giving itself permission to share data from different services, and in the process build up a more complete picture of each individual user. For Google, that only led to benefits overall: the company would be able to, for instance, use calendar data, location data, and its own understanding of traffic status to give more accurate directions and suggestions on when to travel, what route to take, and by what method to take it, Google argued.
That wasn’t enough to placate privacy watchdogs, however, and a bitter back-and-forth began as regulators sparred with Google’s own legal advisors. In February this year, the French National Commission for Computing and Liberties announced it was unsatisfied with Google’s explanations, and that it would investigate and potentially level fines at the company.
Meanwhile, a German watchdog announced this week that it would hold a legal hearing with Google’s policy at its core. Professor Johannes Caspar, who heads the Hamburg-based organization, said that Google’s 2012 policy “violates the company’s commitment to full transparency about the use and handling of the data.”
Data use is a sensitive topic at the moment, especially given the ongoing PRISM revelations that forced Google – among others – to categorically deny that the US NSA or any other security agency had “back door” access to its servers. Google is also the subject of privacy concerns in the US, particularly around its Glass headset, which has led one Congressional caucus to question the potential for abuse of wearables.
UK ICO statement:
In particular, we believe that the updated policy does not provide sufficient information to enable UK users of Google’s services to understand how their data will be used across all of the company’s products.
VIA The Guardian