Report: Google Privacy Policy Set for EU Scrutiny


Google will have changes to its privacy policies scrutinised by an EU antitrust committee, as the company seeks to expand user profiles and increase advertising revenues.

The changes will be reviewed after one of Google’s competitors, Oracle Inc, briefed regulators on changes to Google’s privacy policies in an attempt to increase the mounting scrutiny on the company’s privacy policies.

Google is already facing investigation in the U.S after privacy campaigners filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission in December.

Some of the planned changes from Google involve developing ‘super-profiles’ on its users, that would allow them to increase the level of data they can see about their users, including combining their browsing history from third-party websites with that on Google products such as Gmail and YouTube.

According to Oracle, the changes would allow Google to target their advertising with unrivalled accuracy, making it increasingly hard for other companies to compete.

In slides from an Oracle presentation to regulators obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the company says that the “policy change gives Google, exclusive, unprecedented insight into users’ lives.”

However a Google spokesperson also told the newspaper that the changes were designed to give users greater control of their privacy, saying, “Oracle claims to be the world’s largest audience data marketplace, so it knows how competitive digital advertising is. Its complaints, and those of its proxies, are frivolous.”

“If users do not opt-in to these changes, their Google experience will remain unchanged,” the company added.

The company is already facing an antitrust probe over claims of unfair competition regarding its use of the Android mobile software system, where it requires users to have Google products such as Chrome and Gmail preinstalled on its systems.

Should the company be found to have breached privacy rules, it could face stiffer regulation in the European Union, one of its leading markets. 

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