French privacy watchdog to quiz Google on policy change

Google logo seen on a sign at its Mountain View headquarters Google's consolidation of its policy drew criticism, but the company said it "simplifies" privacy

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France's data protection watchdog has set up a meeting with Google to closely examine its controversial privacy policy.

The search giant consolidated 60 privacy policies into one single agreement in March.

The EU expressed concern over the legality and impact of the change.

France's information commission, the CNIL, said it was not yet "totally satisfied" with Google's explanation of the amendments.

"We want to untangle the precise way that specific personal data is being used for individual services, and examine what the benefit for the consumer really is," CNIL president Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said.

Google spokesman Anthony House said its privacy policy "respected the requirements of European data protection law".

"The meeting will give us [the] chance to put things into context and explain the broader actions we are taking to protect our users' privacy," he said.

Targeted advertising

Under the new policy, Google is able to pool the data collected on users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and its social network Google+.

This data is used for various reasons, including powering the network's targeted advertising system.

Google has already provided a 94-page response to a CNIL questionnaire on the new policy.

The meeting, scheduled for next week, will more closely examine the implications of the policy for users.

The French authorities are acting on behalf of the EU, and the decision is likely to apply to all 27 member states.

The review could lead to financial penalties or administrative sanctions, but it is not clear whether they would be imposed collectively or if individual states would seek their own fines.

The CNIL can impose fines of up to 300,000 euros (£240,000).

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