The firm has agreed to rewrite its policies and has now signed an undertaking to improve the information it provides to users. It has agreed to better inform users as to how it handles their private information.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said in a statement on Friday that it required Google to sign a “formal undertaking” that it would make the changes by June 30 and take further steps in the next two years.
“This undertaking marks a significant step forward following a long investigation and extensive dialogue. Google’s commitment today to make these necessary changes will improve the information UK consumers receive when using their online services and products,” said Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO.
The current issue can be traced back to March 2012 when the Mountain View, California based company combined some 70 existing privacy policies into one policy for all services. It also began to pool data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and its social network Google+.
This prompted an investigation by UK’s Information Commissioner’s office, which argued that the policy was unclear and left many questions regarding how and why personal information was being gathered.
The full list of steps Google must take by 30 June 2015 under the MOU include:
3. Google will provide clear, 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.
4. Google will provide information to enable individuals to exercise their rights.
5. Google will provide user resource covering data processed by Google and the purposes of processing.
8. Google will implement several measures to ensure that passive users are better informed about the processing of their data and that publishers using Google products obtain the necessary consents.
10. Google will enhance its guidance for employees regarding the notice and consent requirements.
11. Google will ensure, so far as practicable, that the requirements of the first principle are applied equally to all Google products, regardless of which terminal device the Google user is accessing them on, including mobile, tablet, desktop, and new hardware offerings.