Google Changes Its ‘Vague’ Privacy Policy

Pressure from watchdogs has forced Google to change its privacy policy in the UK, which will make it easier for users to see how their personal data is being used by the search engine giants.

According to a report from BBC News, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that Google’s policy was “too vague when describing how it uses personal data gathered from its web services and products.”

“It is vital that there is clear and effective information available to enable users to understand the implications of their data being combined. The detailed agreement Google has signed setting out its commitments will ensure that.”

One of the demands being made of Google is to make clarifications about who may collect “anonymous identifiers,” which is similar information collected from internet cookies. Google has also agreed to make sure its policy is less ambiguous and more accessible for its users.

This will include “unambiguous and comprehensive information regarding data processing, including an exhaustive list of the types of data processed by Google and the purposes for which data is processed.”

ICO’s head of enforcement, Steve Eckersley, said this “marks a significant step forward following a long investigation and extensive dialogue.”

Wired says the demand for changes began in July, of 2013, but the case against Google’s privacy policy was delayed over heavy negotiations. According to the technology website, European watchdogs in countries such as Italy demanded the company alter its policy in July of 2014 and issued a fine of €115,000 last January.

A spokesperson for Google has announced that the company is happy with the decision they’ve reached with the ICO and have agreed to the changes in its privacy policy.

“We’re pleased that the ICO has decided to close its investigation. We have agreed improvements to our privacy policy and will continue to work constructively with the Commissioner and his team in the future.”

The news comes shortly after Google announced it was bringing its high-speed internet — known as Google Fiber — to four metro areas and 18 cities across the US. The company says having Fiber will mean users will be able to download an entire movie in just two minutes.

Changes to the Google’s UK privacy policy will come into effect on June 30, and the company has already agreed that any further changes over the next two years will be “subject to user testing.” In order to satisfy regulators across Europe, Google may even be rolling out a single policy.

What are your thoughts on the changes? Let us know in the comments.