Google's privacy tweaks spur tech

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The Alphabet Inc unit – which has faced its share of scrutiny by European privacy watchdogs – invested more than 500 human years, overcoming tens of thousands of bugs, looking at over 1,100 products and projects in light of the needed changes, according to Fleischer. — AFP

Google's announcement about its updated privacy policy to meet strict new European Union rules has become the largest email campaign in the history of the technology company.

“It's so great that it's going to take us a full week to push the notices out of the world,” Peter Fleischer, Google's global privacy counsel, told a data conference in Berlin on Monday.

The Alphabet Inc unit – which has been detected by its share of scrutiny by European privacy watchdogs – invested more than 500 human years, overcoming tens of thousands of bugs, looking at over 1,100 products and projects in light of the necessary changes, according to Fleischer.

“We had to update, and this is the one that floors me, 12.5 million contracts” with, for example, companies that use Google's analytic services, or its advertising services, said Fleischer. “This is not just to bring us into compliance, it's also to help bring in all of our business partners in compliance with their obligations.”

The EU personal data. Privacy regulators across the 28-nation block will take the powers of the for the first time. Laws under the current EU rules vary from country to country, with some watchdogs not able to levy fines.

Stricter curbs

The new EU law puts the onus on companies on the right to obtain information for doing so and imposes stricter curbs on how personal information is used. It's not only companies though that are rushing to comply. EU countries are too under pressure, with so far only four countries – Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Sweden – with their national rules to the new law. And even here, the European Commission said some of these changes still need fine-tuning.

“We do not like to see any deviations which will go beyond the rules and spirit” of the rules, EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said at the event. “Is it a disaster?” It's a matter of opinion, but I think it will not help to bring certainty to a state. “

The Facebook Inc, Cambridge Analytica scandal shows why stricter rules are necessary, after the data of some 2.7 million people in Europe was misappropriated , she said.

With just 11 days to go until compliance should be in place, the commission is trying to “reduce the panic among the small- and medium-sized enterprises” and issuing advice to companies, said Jourova. “I will not lie, I do not expect all to be ready by May 25.” – Bloomberg


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