By Claire Davenport

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union data protection authorities have found legal problems with Google's new privacy policy and asked the company to make changes, a letter from a majority of the bloc's national regulators seen by Reuters said.

The letter, which stopped short of declaring Google's approach to collecting user data illegal, comes after a nine-month investigation led by France's Commission Nationale de l'Informatique (CNIL) on behalf of the EU's regulators.

Google must spell out its intentions and methods for combining data collected from its various services, and the web search giant must ask its users for explicit consent when bundling their data together, the regulators say in the letter sent to Google.

"Combining personal data on such a large scale creates high risks to the privacy of users," says the letter, signed by 24 of EU's 27 data regulators plus those of Croatia and Liechtenstein. It has not yet been signed by data regulators from Greece, Romania and Lithuania.

"Therefore, Google should modify its practices when combining data across services for these purposes."

In February, the French regulator CNIL told Google it would lead a European-wide investigation of Google's update to its new privacy policy and would send it questions by mid-March.

Under its new system, which the company introduced in March, Google consolidated 60 privacy policies into one and began pooling data it collects on users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and its social network Google+.

Google replied to CNIL with a 94-page document but that regulators found unsatisfactory.

They spelled out 12 'practical recommendations' they say Google needs to adopt to bring its privacy policy in line.

The first five ask the company to give users more information about how their personal information and browsing records will be used, with special attention paid to location data and credit card data.

Google could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting By Claire Davenport; additional reporting by Leila Abboud; editing by Rex Merrifield)

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Korea

    South Korea has long boasted some of the world's fastest and most accessible Internet. <a href="" target="_hplink">More than 94 percent of South Koreans</a> have high-speed connections. In addition, the South Korean government has pledged to give its citizens access to 1 Gigabit per second Internet by the end of this year -- or <a href="" target="_hplink">more than 200 times faster than the average household in the United States</a>. "South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do," he said during his <a href="" target="_hplink">2011 State of the Union address</a>.

  • Finland

    In 2010, Finland became the first country in the world to make broadband access a <a href="" target="_hplink">legal right for all citizens</a>. That right: every one of the country's 5.3 million people will have guaranteed access to a high-speed Internet connection. Meanwhile, in the United States, about 19 million people have no access to high-speed Internet where they live. Finland isn't stopping there. It plans to make lightning-fast 100-megabit broadband service a legal right by the end of 2015.

  • Sweden

    Swedish broadband is twice as fast and costs one-third the price of broadband in the U.S., <a href="" target="_hplink">according to a study by the New America Foundation</a>. In 2007, a 75-year-old woman from central Sweden <a href="" target="_hplink">made headlines</a> when she was given the world's fastest internet connection. She could download a full high-definition DVD in just two seconds.

  • Japan

    Japanese has some of the cheapest connections in the world,<a href="" target="_hplink"> according to the OECD</a>. Japan's government has offered companies generous tax incentives to invest in fiber-optic cables. "The Japanese think long-term," a technology consultant told <a href="" target="_hplink">The New York Times in 2007</a>. "If they think they will benefit in 100 years, they will invest for their grandkids. There's a bit of national pride we don't see in the West."

  • France

    "Consumer broadband prices in France are now among the most affordable in the world," <a href="" target="_hplink">according to a study</a> by Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The study attributed the low prices to regulations that allow rival Internet providers to share access to broadband infrastructure. France is also one of several countries that have declared Internet access "<a href=",2933,525993,00.html" target="_hplink">a basic human right</a>."