Google has been warned against "sneaking" privacy away from citizens in a strong rebuke from European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding as the debate around its new privacy policies rumbles on.
Speaking to The Guardian, Reding said that the firm could not expect to get away with ignoring European data protection laws, and that the rights of citizens had to come first.
"Any company which wants to utilise the European market of 500 million citizens - which we've made borderless, a golden opportunity - then the European rules apply," she said.
"Citizens should have the possibility of buying into more extensive use of their data - but that should be their freedom to choose, not done by a sneaking way of taking the freedom away from the citizens".
The strong stance comes as Google faces widespread criticism for the introduction of its new privacy policies, first announced in January. They were recently branded unlawful by French data protection regulators working on behalf of the pan-European Article 29 Working Party.
However, Google has dismissed these criticisms. A spokesperson for the company claiming that its new policies adhere to all the necessary legislation.
"It provides all the information required in Articles 10 & 11 of the directive, plus much additional information, and it follows the guidelines published by the Article 29 Working Party in 2004."
Many users are still unhappy with the changes, though, with privacy advocate Alex Hanff taking the firm to a small claims court for £400 over the changes to help cover the cost of moving from the Android smartphone platform to another operating system.