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EU agencies to tackle Google over privacy laws

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EU agencies to tackle Google over privacy laws
14:15 CET+01:00
European data protection agencies intend to take action against the US Internet giant Google after it failed to follow their orders to comply with EU privacy laws, the French agency at the head of the fight said on Monday.

In October the data protection agencies warned Google that its new privacy policy did not comply with EU laws and gave it four months to comply or face legal action.

"At the end of a four-month delay accorded to Google to conform and promise to implement recommendations, no response has been forthcoming by the company" said France's CNIL data protection agency.

CNIL said that European data protection agencies planned to set up a working group to "coordinate their coercive actions which should be implemented before the summer."

European data agencies are to meet next week to approve the action plan, said CNIL, which said it is leading the effort.

Google rolled out the new privacy policy in March 2012, allowing it to track users across various services to develop targeted advertising, despite sharp criticism from US and European consumer advocacy groups.

It contends the move simplifies and unifies its policies across its various services such as Gmail, YouTube, Android mobile systems, social networks and Internet search.

But critics argue that the policy, which offers no ability to opt out aside from refraining from signing into Google services, gives the operator of the world's largest search engine unprecedented ability to monitor its users.

Google reiterated on Monday that its privacy policy respects European law.

Privacy is not the only issue France and other EU states have with Google at the moment.

On Saturday France, Britain and Germany  launched a new push to force top firms including the internet giant, as well as Starbucks and Amazon to pay their share of tax and to halt tax avoidance schemes.

France's Pierre Moscovici, Britain's George Osborne and Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble said it was time for internationally-coordinated action to clamp down on the practice of shifting profits from the company's home country to pay less tax under another jurisdiction.

Earlier this year France did manage to reach an accord with Google over online advertising revenue, which settled a dispute over whether the Internet giant should pay to display news content in its search results.

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