Europe is now planning a co-ordinated response to Google’s data collection practices.
The French Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et de Libertes (CNIL) says it, and other European privacy regulators, want ‘repressive’ action against Google for failing to respond adequately to questions put to Google by the 27 European privacy regulators.
The main thing is that the regulators want easier ways for people to tell Google it does not want data collected by Google to be used to target advertisements at them.
Regulators are particularly concerned that Google intends to put together information gained from different services it owns – like G-mail and YouTube to target individuals more effectively.
The 27 regulators would like to organise a concerted world approach to the issues. There will be a vote on whether to take the repressive actions against Google before the end of the month.
European Parliament wants to give European citizens the ability to block or control targeted advertising and online Web tracking not just by Google but by the whole US technology industry.
The US tech industry is mounting a massive lobbying effort to get these proposals dropped or watered down and the US DoC is lobbying on behalf of the US tech industry.
According to Ben Wizner, a lawyer involved in the case, the US does not have general data protection laws like we have in Europe – merely specific protection for things like medical and financial information.
Otherwise companies can try to find out anything they want about individuals.
The EU proposal is that companies could not collect data on individuals unless the individuals gave their explicit consent.
Furthermore, businesses would have to remove personal data they had collected upon the request of an individual.
National regulators would be able to fine companies up to 2% of annual sales for failing to comply.
Before Christmas the US Ambassador to the EU argued that individuals should not have to give their explicit consent to having information about them collected by companies.
The proposals under consideration by the European Parliament and 27 European Justice Ministers should be drafted by April and then go for legislation coming into force next year.
Last week Intel said it would sell a set top box which would watch to see who was watching a TV and be able to identify them and then target adverstisements at them.