EU data authorities and privacy watchdogs have criticised the search giant’s new data sharing policies

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Google can now share personal data collected through its search service with all other platforms owned by the brand, such as YouTube and Gmail, after the search giant merged 60 guidelines into a single privacy policy for all of its services.

Google’s business model - the selling of ads targeted on individual user behaviour - relies on collecting browsing information from its visitors. This information used to be kept apart between services. Now it has decided to merge that information.

The move has drawn criticism from privacy watchdogs, who warn that it might violate European law. Google ignored demands from France’s privacy watchdog CNIL earlier this week, urging it to “pause” in rolling out the revised policy.

EU data authorities have criticised Google for not being clear about the alterations to its customers.

“If people don’t understand what is happening to their personal information, how can they make an informed choice about using a service?” warned Nick Pickles, director of privacy group Big Brother Watch. “Google is putting advertisers’ interests before user privacy and should not be rushing ahead before the public understand what the changes will mean.”

Referring to the risks posed by employees who use services like Gmail to read work emails, Garry McCracken CISSP, vice president of technology partnerships at WinMagic, said: “Organisations now more than ever need to ensure that their own data security is robust as employees continue to work across corporate and personal platforms.”

Users can see which Google services hold data about them by viewing their own personal dashboard.