Google of ‘sneaking away citizens’ privacy says EU commissioner

Google’s new privacy policy is a significant infringement of the right to privacy.

Written by Agencies | Washington | Published: March 3, 2012 11:36 am

Google is ‘sneaking citizens’ privacy with its new policies and appears to be ignoring data protection treaties,the European Commissioner of Justice has said.

Viviane Reding said the decision to sacrifice privacy should be made by the user rather than by the company acting in a “sneaking” way.

“Any company which wants to utilize the European market of 500 million citizens which we have made borderless,a golden opportunity then the European rules apply,” she said.

Reding added that “citizens should have the possibility of buying into more extensive use of their data but that should be their freedom to choose,not done by a sneaking way of taking the freedom away from the citizens”.

Her comments came after millions of British Google smartphones users were told that they were unable to avoid radical and “invasive” changes to the firm’s privacy policy.

The news has prompted a privacy campaigner Alex Hanff to sue for the 400-pound cost of his device.

He claimed that Google’s new privacy policy is “a significant infringement of the right to privacy” that cannot be avoided by Britain”s 9.3 million Android users unless they buy an alternative handset.

But Google said Android users concerned by the new privacy policy could choose not to log in and not to use some of their handsets’ features.

“This updated privacy policy,like the old privacy policy,affects users signed into their Google Accounts on Android phones,the same way as users signed into their Google Accounts from a desktop computer,” Google spokesperson said.

“Users can choose not to log into an Android phone with a Google Account and still use it to place phone calls,send text messages,browse the web,and use certain Google applications that do not require account authentication such as Google Maps,” he added.

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