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Google tells French watchdog 'non' on privacy tweak halt

'At no stage did any DPA suggest pause was necessary'

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Google has rejected calls from the European Union's watchdog to delay imminent changes to the Chocolate Factory's privacy policy.

The company's global privacy counsel, Peter Fleischer, wrote a letter to France's data protection authority in response to an earlier missive sent by the EU's Article 29 Working Party last week.

"As you will know, we had extensively pre-briefed data protection authorities across the EU prior to the launch of our notification to users on 24 January 2012," Fleischer said.

"At no stage did any EU regulator suggest that any sort of pause would be appropriate. Since we finished these extensive briefings, we have notified over 350 million Google account holders, as well as providing highly visible notices to all our non-authenticated users."

Which is a bit like politely saying: "Tough luck, we're going ahead with this."

The Google exec also offered a relatively short overview of the search giant's privacy policy overhaul, which involves a cut-and-shut of around 60 separate documents into one beefy Terms of Service.

Along with that come a few changes that have deeply concerned many users of Google's products. It has been argued that Google's decision to flush out its users across the Mountain View estate is a move that neglects an individual's privacy online.

That's because, as of 1 March, Google will track someone who is logged into, for example Gmail, across the company's internet services.

Google has countered that the change is good for its users because they will be served more "relevant" or "personal" online information.

Fleischer didn't go into anything like the kind of detail offered up by Google's public policy chief Pablo Chavez, who wrote a similar - but much lengthier - letter late last month to US lawmakers in which he defended the upcoming changes. ®

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