Google facing more privacy probes

08 Apr 2013

Privacy continues to be a thorn in Google’s side, with three key developments keeping the topic front and center in the past week.

First Alma Whitten, Google’s privacy director, resigned from the firm after three years in the role. Whitten was appointed to the newly created post in 2010 in the wake of the Street View scandal

Then, European regulators in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the U.K and Spain opened probes into the search giant’s privacy policy, after it failed to meet an end-March deadline to comply with recommendations made following a previous EU-wide investigation.

Ovum principal consumer analyst Mark Little says the European probes must consider proposed general data protection regulations, which give individuals the right not to be ‘subject to a measure based on profiling’. Little points out that targeted advertising could be considered such a ‘measure’, and reasons that giving consumers an opt-out “would be a severe disruption to Google’s bread and butter advertising,” as well has having “ramifications for the internet economy as a whole.”

Little’s prediction appears to be coming true already, as police in India have begun investigating Google following a complaint about a mapping contest run by the firm.

Survey of India, a government mapping and survey agency, filed the complaint, claiming the competition was illegal and poses a threat to national security.

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