Six European regulators have teamed up to bring legal action against Google to try to force the tech giant to overhaul its privacy practices.
Data protection authorities from France, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy agreed on the joint action after Google failed to reverse changes it made to its policy last year.
If successful, the regulators could impose fines or restrictions on Google’s operations across the entire 27-country European Union.
Last year Google merged 60 separate privacy policies from around the world into one universal procedure.
The European organisations say the new policy does not allow users to determine which information is kept, how it is combined by Google services or how long the company retains it.
The European regulators, led by the French, have demanded specifics for anyone using Google on what is being collected and a simpler presentation.
Any fines would have a limited financial impact on Google but successful legal action could hurt its image and block its ability to collect such data until it addresses the regulators’ concerns.
Proposed Europe-wide data protection legislation will take until at least 2015 to be fully implemented.
Google dominates the European market for internet searches. According to one survey, 95% of searches in Europe are carried out through Google, compared with about 65% in the US.
Google says it merged its myriad privacy policies in March 2012 for the sake of simplicity, and that the changes comply with European laws.