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Privacy law: EU says Google's new privacy policy is breaking the law

Data protection agencies around Europe have concluded that Google's new privacy policy is in breach of existing EU Law.

The statement, from the EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, has cast doubt on whether the new privacy policy will survive scrutiny in national legislatures around the EU.

The French data protection watchdog, CNIL, has also cast doubt on the policy's legality. They have gone on to inform Google that they will face a European-wide investigation into the policy in the coming months and years.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said:

"CNIL have come to the conclusion that they are deeply concerned, and that the new rules are not in accordance with the European law, and that the transparency rules have not been applied."

The announcement that Google was altering its privacy policy was made in January. They said that they were planning to simplify the policy to consolidate around 60 different guidelines into a single document that will apply to all services, including YouTube, Gmail and the new Google social network, Google+.

Google have set up the new guidelines so that users can opt out of their implementation if they wish. They believe that the new policy, as well as simplifying provisions across their online products, is also well within EU law.

"We are confident that our new simple, clear and transparent privacy policy respects all European data protection laws and principles" said Google in a statement.

Google went further, to claim that the new privacy policy would help it to tailor its services to produce better search results for its users. This will, it argues, produce a better user experience, which will include more targeted advertising.

Arguing against the changes, Reding concluded:

"Seventy percent of users rarely, or never, use terms and conditions which very often are written in small print, very complicated, not understandable for the normal user, and users are worried," she told the BBC.

"Eighty percent of British citizens say they're concerned about what is going on now."

Read more on this story (Reuters)