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Japan warns Google that its new privacy policy may violate data protection laws


The Japanese government has warned Google to tread carefully with its new privacy policy, as the controversial new regulations were rolled out today.

Authorities in the country wrote to Google to express concern that its new approach to storing and using Internet user’s data could violate Japan’s data protection laws. The government has asked Google to prepare a clear explanation of the impact of the rules and respond to any user feedback that it receives going forward.

The Internet giant’s new privacy move has raised concerns in a number of other countries too. Earlier this month, the government of fellow Asian country South Korea began investigating the possibility that the search giant was violating laws there.

Elsewhere, concern and pressure in the US prompted Google to write a letter to Congress explaining the move. The Web giant also provided a similar explanation to the European Union, after it rejected the organisation’s appeal to “pause” the introduction of the new policy.

However, the drama in Europe isn’t finished yet. This week, French regulators announced their intention to launch an investigation, claiming that the policy doesn’t conform to EU law.

The new privacy policy is aimed at unifying Google’s user data into one place as it takes a more proactive approach toward getting more relevant results to users no matter where they are. What is perhaps slightly different is that the blanket policy means that you will be treated as a single user across all Google services. So if you’re watching a YouTube video about cats, you might see a ad for pet food.

Here’s how Google explained the move:

So we’re rolling out a new main privacy policy that covers the majority of our products and explains what information we collect, and how we use it, in a much more readable way. While we’ve had to keep a handful of separate privacy notices for legal and other reasons, we’re consolidating more than 60 into our main Privacy Policy.

But, don’t take their word alone on it.

BBC reporter Kate Russell spent yesterday combing from the terms and conditions for The Next Web to see just how evil they are. You can read her thoughts, and explanation why it won’t step her from using Google services, in her guest post.

Google has seen itself enveloped in other privacy concerns of late, after a Wall Street Journal report found that it had been knowingly overriding security settings on Apple’s Safari browser. Google claims it was accidental and that the company was not spying or collecting data from Internet users.

Image courtesy of Dmitriy Shironosov /