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French Regulators Fine Google Over Privacy Policy

A French information commission has fined Google for a privacy policy it says doesn’t adequately protect users.
Posted at 11:36 AM, Jan 09, 2014

Regulators in France have hit Google with a six-figure fine after finding the search giant didn't adequately protect the privacy of French users.

GigaOM reports France's National Commission on Informatics and Liberties levied a 150,000 euro fine, or about $204,000. It's the single biggest fine in the commission’s history.

Says the commission: "[Google] does not sufficiently inform its users of the conditions in which their personal data are processed, nor of the purposes of this processing."

The CNIL goes on to say Google doesn't get permission to store cookies on user computers and doesn't have any legal basis for combining collected data across its services.

This is the latest in a string of EU complaints against Google's data practices.

When Google introduced its new unified privacy policy in 2012, it kicked off investigations in six European countries. Just last month, Spain fined Google 900,000 euros, or $1.2 million, for not adequately explaining why it's collecting user data. (Via The Guardian, Engadget)

This most recent fine might be unprecedented for the CNIL, but it's largely symbolic for a company the size of Google.

Perhaps more importantly, the commission will also require Google to display a public notification on its French homepage. The message will inform visitors and users Google's privacy policy is in violation of the French Data Protection Act.

In the meantime, Google's statement on the matter suggests the company won't admit wrongdoing.

"We've engaged fully with the CNIL throughout this process to explain our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We'll be reading their report closely to determine next steps." (Via CNET)