Big Data

Here's how Google will handle your data under GDPR

Google has improved user transparency and controls and strengthened its privacy compliance program to prepare for GDPR.

With onset of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) just two weeks away, Google has outlined the steps it has taken to ensure that users' data is protected under the new privacy laws.

In a Friday blog post, Google announced updates to its current Privacy Policy that make it easier to understand what data the tech giant collects, and for what purposes. The privacy policy is also now easier to navigate, and includes more in-depth and clear explanations of practices, according to the post. It includes more information and video tutorials on each user's options for managing, exporting, and deleting data from Google platforms as well.

Google also announced improvements to the controls and clarity of information found in each user's My Account hub to give users more control over how their data is collected. With My Account, users can now choose what activity is saved to their Google account, with simple on/off switches to control location history, YouTube search history, and web and app activity across all devices, the post noted.

SEE: EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy (Tech Pro Research)

Users will also be able to view or delete any data collected, including search and location history, from Google services using My Activity. Users can choose to permanently delete specific activities, or days of activity that they do not want connected to their account.

Business users will be happy to learn that Google's Download Your Data tool is improving and expanding. This tool—which you can use to export information from Google Photos, Drive, Calendar, and Gmail to either your computer, or to storage services like Dropbox—will now be available for more Google services, and include more contextual data controls and a setting to help schedule regular downloads, the post said.

Security and Privacy Checkups are available to ensure that accounts are safe, the post said, and Google also added an option allowing users to subscribe to prompts to use these checkups.

If ads are a bother, users now have the ability to manage or mute the ads they see on Google, on websites, and in apps, using an Ads Settings tool and Mute This Ad control.

GDPR suggests that companies allow direct service-to-service data transfers when possible—for example, from Google photos to another photo service, the post noted. To support this, Google launched the Data Transfer Project on GitHub, which offers early-stage open source code that will soon be available for any developer to use.

Google has also been working with its global advertisers, publishers, developers, and cloud customers to prep for GDPR, the post said. The company updated its data processing terms for G Suite and Google Cloud Platform for those customers.

"As we evolve our products over time, we'll continue to improve our Privacy Program and the protections we offer to users," the post stated. "Our ambition is to have the highest possible standards of data security and privacy, and to put our users and partners in control."

The big takeaways for tech leaders:
  • Google announced a number of updates across its platforms that will help it comply with the upcoming EU GDPR regulations.
  • Google updates include improving user transparency and controls, and strengthening privacy compliance.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/mixmagic, Google

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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