43 Marketing Trends found for Regulation / Mainland Europe

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Google Analytics is Illegal, Aver German Officials

German data protection officials are claiming that Google Analytics web tracking service is in breach of the country’s privacy laws, because it gathers detailed stats on web site visitors without their explicit consent.

Two years ago, Google cut the length of time it keeps users’ personal search data from ‘18-24 months’ to a maximum of 18 months, following questioning by European Union data protection officials.

This data includes the search term typed in, the address of the Internet server and sometimes more personal information contained within cookies.

The German officials are now lobbying to pass a law that will fine companies that use the tool, which enables web site owners and publishers to collect information about the number, whereabouts and search behaviour of their visitors.
They also fear that accessing information about visitors to sites such as health insurance companies, could allow creation of profiles containing too much personal information.

In addition, the officials say that Google Analytics does not comply with legislation that prohibits individuals’ data leaving the country.

In its defence, Google says it is ‘completely confident’ that the tool conforms with European data protection laws, and also complies with the Safe Harbour treaty that allows data to flow between Europe and the US.

The German ULD privacy commission – which is equivalent to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – said in a statement that its concerns about how Google Analytics complies with privacy legislation are not resolved.
‘We have the regulators of the Federal and State Governments in conversation with Google,’ the organisation said.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: MRweb.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4932

Google Street View Faces Swiss Legal Challenge

Google Inc's unstoppable drive to map and photograph the world has run into an immovable object -- Switzerland's strict tradition of personal privacy. The country's privacy regulator Friday said he plans to take the search engine company before a federal court to force it to make changes to its Street View application. Google criticized the decision and said it would defend itself in the case.

The service allows people to view street-level pictures over the Internet and already has been criticized in several European countries for allowing individuals to be identified without their knowledge or consent -- potentially exposing embarrassing facts about their private lives to the world.

Switzerland's federal data protection commissioner wants Google to ensure all faces and car plates are blurred, remove pictures of enclosed areas such as walled gardens and private streets, and declare at least one week in advance which town and cities it plans to photograph and post on line.

Commissioner Hanspeter Thuer said concerns included that many faces and vehicle number plates aren't sufficiently disguised, especially where people are shown in sensitive locations such as outside hospitals, prisons or schools.
"The height from which the camera on top of the Google vehicle films is also problematic," he said. "It provides a view over fences, hedges and walls, with the result that people see more on Street View than can been seen by a normal passer-by in the street."

Mr. Thuer requested in August that Google take "various measures to protect personal privacy in its Street View online service."

"Google for the most part declined to comply with the requests," the commissioner said, prompting him to take the matter to Switzerland's Federal Administrative Tribunal.

Google said in a statement that it was disappointed by the move.

The California-based company believes Street View is legal and will "vigorously contest" the case, said Google's global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer.

While the case may take months to wind its way through Switzerland's legal system, it could have an immediate impact on the availability of the Street View service in the country.

Mr. Thuer has asked the tribunal to require Google to remove all pictures taken in Switzerland and to cease taking any more pictures in the country until a ruling is made.

While Switzerland has long been famous for its reserve and privacy -- best illustrated by its strict banking secrecy laws -- other countries also have taken a dim view of Street View since its launch in 2007. In July, Greek officials rejected a bid to photograph the nation's streets until more privacy safeguards are provided. In April, residents of one English village formed a human chain to stop a camera van, and in Japan the company agreed to reshoot views taken by a camera high enough to peer over fences.

Google also accepted German demands to erase the raw footage of faces, house numbers, license plates and individuals who have told authorities they don't want their information used in the service.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com / Associated Press
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4908

Anti-piracy law threatens EU telecoms revamp

An effort by the European parliament to limit the reach of anti-piracy prosecutions is threatening to derail the European Union’s ambitious plans to revamp telecommunications legislation. A parliamentary proposal to turn internet access into a fundamental human right is proving unacceptable to member states, with time fast running out for a deal to be struck before the parliamentary elections in June.

[Estimated timeframe:2009-onward]

Though intellectual property protection was not part of the original telecoms package, which is set to give Brussels the upper hand in scrutinising phone operators, diplomats fear that failure to tackle the contentious issue could derail two years of negotiations.

Framing internet access as a human right would effectively scupper the entertainment industry’s efforts to hamper illegal file sharing by threatening to cut off persistent copyright transgressors’ internet connections.

EU diplomats painted the parliament’s position as “extreme” and accused it privately of raising the issue to attract publicity ahead of the elections.

“If the parliament doesn’t stand down, the telecoms package will simply not go through,” said one person involved in the negotiations.

The parliamentary proposal would mandate that only a court order could authorise the termination of an internet connection. Opponents say this is an issue of legal enforcement over which Brussels has traditionally had few powers.

The parliament’s stance is a reaction to France’s proposed “three strikes” law, personally championed by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, which critics say makes it too easy for internet service providers to cut off access.

France originally pushed to have a version of the law adopted at European level. The move prompted a group of parliamentarians, led by Catherine Trautmann, a French Socialist, in turn to suggest that cutting off internet access was a restriction on human rights.

A spokesman for the rotating EU presidency said: “None of the existing conventions and laws recognise internet access as a fundamental right on its own. It is simply one of the means of access to information.”

A final meeting between the parliament, Commission and member states is due tonight, with no further opportunities to agree a deal before the elections without the entire package being reopened.

A spokesman for the Commission stressed that “a solution [on intellectual property protection] must be found, and we believe it will be found”.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: FT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=3942

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