Italy Instructs Google Inc (NASDAQ GOOG) to Change its Data-Use Policy

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Italy’s data protection regulator has given Google Inc (NASDAQ GOOG) 18 months to change the way it treats and stores user data, bringing to an end an investigation that is part of a European drive to reform the internet giant’s privacy practices.

In a statement on Monday, the Italian watchdog said Google’s disclosure to users on how their data was being treated remained inadequate, despite the company having taken steps to abide by local law.

The watchdog gave the group 18 months to comply fully and indicated a series of measures Google must put into practice. A spokesman for Google said the company had always cooperated with the regulator and would continue to do so, adding it would carefully review the regulator’s decision before taking any further steps. As part of the process, Google also agreed to present a document by the end of September that will set a roadmap of steps to comply fully with the Italian regulator’s decision.

Google Inc (NASDAQ GOOG) News: Data Use Policy

Regulators in several European nations including Italy began a joint inquiry last year after Google consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one, combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. It gave users no means to opt out.

The Rome-based regulator said Google would not be allowed to use the data to profile users without their prior consent and would have to tell them explicitly that the profiling was being done for commercial purposes. It also demanded that requests from users with a Google account to delete their personal data be met in up to two months.

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Google Inc Financial News (NASDAQ GOOG)

In a separate regulatory development, Google Inc (NASDAQ GOOG) is taking initial steps to meet a European ruling that citizens can have objectionable links removed from Internet search results, a ruling that pleased privacy campaigners but raised fears that the right could be abused to hide negative information.

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