Google has agreed to change its privacy policies following an investigation by a British data watchdog that found the search engine’s terms were too vague for users.
That prompted an investigation by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, which led to a ruling that “the new policy did not include sufficient information for service users as to how and why their personal data was being collected.”
Google is facing similar privacy investigations from several other European governments related to this issue. These governments have held joint discussions with the UK and Google on the issue, but it was not immediately clear whether today’s agreement settled all of those investigations. We’ve asked the ICO to clarify this and will update this story with the agency’s response.
But in exchange for the ICO not bringing a formal case, Google agreed to additional stipulations today that include making sure any future changes to the privacy policies are reviewed by third-party privacy experts and various user groups in order to get feedback. The full list of changes Google agreed to make can be found here.
“This undertaking marks a significant step forward following a long investigation and extensive dialogue,” said Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO, in a statement. “Google’s commitment today to make these necessary changes will improve the information UK consumers receive when using their online services and products.”
Google did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.