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Google privacy policy 'breaches EU law' says commissioner

The EU's justice commissioner has said Google's new privacy policy is in breach of European law.

Ruh-roh! Google's changes to its privacy policy fly in the face of European law, according to the EU justice commissioner.

Viviane Reding said authorities found that "transparency rules have not been applied", the BBC reports. And she's not messing about, adding, "We aren't playing games here." Google should be scared.

Reding told the Guardian that Google isn't above the law. "Any company which wants to utilise the European market of 500 million citizens -- which we've made borderless, a golden opportunity -- then the European rules apply."

If people are to give up their privacy, it should be in full knowledge, and not by companies "sneaking" it away, she said. Companies have an obligation to protect personal data under European treaties.

French data protection authority CNIL is also protesting the changes, having written to Google accusing it of breaching the 1995 European directive on data protection. It said it would lead a Europe-wide inquiry into the new Google policy.

The changes came into effect yesterday. They mean Google can use your data garnered from one service across all its offerings. So search for YouTube videos of a hot new phone, and ads for said mobile or similar could pop up in your Gmail. Or on Blogger. Or on any of Google's ever-growing army of services.

Google claims it's just simplifying its Ts & Cs, consolidating 60 policies into one. "It's the same Google experience that you're used to, with the same controls," Google's director of privacy, product and engineering wrote in a blog post.

The search giant also rejected requests from European regulators to delay the changes.

What do you make of the new policy? Is Google right to go ahead with it, or does it think it's above the law? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.