Google meets Italy's demands on data use practices

A woman holds her smart phone which displays the Google home page, in this picture illustration taken February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/Illustration/Files

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s data privacy regulator said on Friday Alphabet Inc’s Google had met its requests to change the way it treats and stores user data to bring practices into line with Italian rules.

Two years ago, the watchdog told Google its disclosure to users on how their data was being treated was inadequate, giving it 18 months to comply fully and indicating a series of measures that needed to be carried out.

The move was one of several privacy challenges against the U.S. Internet giant in the European Union, highlighting the bloc’s desire to ensure its citizens’ data is treated according to EU law, even when held in foreign jurisdictions.

In a note, the watchdog said it was pleased with the agreement but added the monitoring of Google would continue.

“We will continue with checks, in tandem also with other European regulators, so that users’ data are increasingly protected and their rights recognized by web giants,” watchdog president Antonello Soro said.

Under the changes agreed, Google will have to make clear to users how their data is used and will not be allowed to use data to profile users without their prior consent. Users will be able to withhold or grant partial consent.

Google will also need to improve how it stores data and guarantee its deletion within a specified timeframe.

“We’re pleased that the Garante (watchdog) has acknowledged the steps we have taken to ensure compliance with Italian law and improve user control,” a Google spokesperson said.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Potter