Dutch privacy watchdogs: "Google spins an invisible web of our personal data without our consent."

Dutch privacy watchdogs have concluded that Google's privacy policy is in breach of the Dutch data protection act.

According to a Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) report, Google does not adequately inform users which personal data it collects and combines, and for what purpose.

"Google spins an invisible Web of our personal data, without our consent. And that is forbidden by law", the chairman of the Dutch data protection authority, Jacob Kohnstamm, said in a statement.

The Dutch DPA has invited Google to attend a hearing, after which the agency will decide whether it will take enforcement measures.

At issue is an update to Google's privacy policy that went into effect on 1 March, 2012. The revamp consolidated 70 or so privacy policies across Google's products down to one. But with this change, Google also switched to one profile for users across all services rather than separate logins for offerings like YouTube, Search, and Blogger.

It's that account consolidation bit that had privacy advocates up in arms. In early February 2012, the EU's Article 29 Working Party asked Google to "pause" its privacy policy update, but Google declined. By October, France's CNIL (Commission Nationale de L'informatique et des Libertés) issued several recommendations that covered how Google might improve its privacy policies, but Google did not make any changes.

In February 2013, CNIL criticized Google for not responding to its privacy-related inquiries in a timely fashion. In April, it announced plans to crack down on Google, and by June, it threatened sanctions and imposed the three-month deadline. Nothing was resolved, and in late September, CNIL announced plans to initiate "a formal procedure for imposing sanctions, according to the provisions laid down in the French data protection law."

Other data protection agencies in Europe have also been examining Google's privacy policy, including the Dutch, Spanish, Germans, Italians, and UK officials.

Google has consistently argued that it does not believe its revamped privacy policy runs afoul of any privacy rules.

The ruling will make for smiles all round at Microsoft, where their new Scroogled campaign just getting underway.