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Google will face further scrutiny from EU regulators over 2012 privacy policy changes

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European Union flags
European Union flags

The European Union first expressed concern about Google's new privacy policy last February, and now, more than a year later, Reuters reports that EU regulators are preparing to take action against the company this summer. Last October, after a probe into Google's new privacy policy, regulators urged the company to revise its policy in order to comply with data protection laws. Regulators were not pleased with Google's response.

EU regulators gave Google four months to change its policies last October, and the French privacy regulator leading the EU's investigation said that the company "did not provide any precise and effective answers." Reuters reports that the EU's action this year will begin with the creation of a working group to coordinate EU data protection authorities. No action beyond "a further inquiry" has been announced.

In 2012, Google consolidated user data and privacy policies across many of its previously-segregated services including YouTube, Gmail, and Google+, without allowing users to opt-out. The change allowed Google to share data more freely between its products, and drew privacy complaints from members of the US Congress, the US attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission chairman, and international watchdogs. Google said it has "worked hard" to create an easily understandable privacy policy, and argues that its policy complies with the requirements of EU data protection laws.