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Google to rewrite privacy policy in response to UK pressure

[JURIST] A representative of Google signed an agreement [text, PDF] Friday to rewrite the company's current privacy policy in response to pressure from the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) [official website]. The ICO brought an action for breach of privacy [JURIST report] on behalf of more than 100 users of Apple's Safari browser who claim that Google tracked their browsing history without their knowledge, breaching the 1998 Data Protection Act [text]. The agreement commits Google to a two-year compliance plan to revise the privacy policy created in March 2012 and to insure that Google users are made aware that their personal information is being stored and collected. A representative of the ICO called the undertaking [press release] a "significant step forward" in providing UK internet users with important privacy information.

Internet freedom [JURIST backgrounder] and privacy rights on the Internet have emerged as major international legal issues in recent years. Google has faced many legal challenges regarding the privacy of internet users. In February 2013 the French data protection agency Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertes (CNIL) [official website] said that EU data protection agencies intended to take action [JURIST report] against Google and investigate the Internet company's failure to comply with EU privacy laws. In 2012 the company was fined $22.5 million [JURIST report] for alleged privacy misrepresentations concerning Apple's Safari Internet browser. Earlier that year a federal judge dismissed [JURIST report] a suit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center [advocacy website] that sought to block Google's proposed privacy changes that would allow a user's information to be shared among several Google products, including YouTube, Gmail and Google Maps.

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