French privacy watchdog fines Google for failure to comply with data protection act

By Danny Palmer
09 Jan 2014 View Comments
Google France

Google has been fined €150,000 (£124,000) by French data protection watchdog CNIL for failure to alter its data tracking and storage policies to comply with France's data protection act.

It relates to Google's decision as of March 2012 to merge the different privacy policies of 60 services - including YouTube, Gmail, Google search, Google Docs and Google Maps - into a single policy, but without giving users the option to opt out.

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"The company does not sufficiently inform its users of the conditions in which their personal data are processed, nor of the purposes of this processing," read a statement by CNIL

"They may therefore neither understand the purposes for which their data are collected, which are not specific as the law requires, nor the ambit of the data collected through the different services concerned.

"Consequently, they are not able to exercise their rights, in particular their right of access, objection or deletion," CNIL continued, adding "it [Google] permits itself to combine all the data it collects about its users across all of its services without any legal basis."

The fine has been issued as a result of Google's failure to respond to recommendations on how the company could alter privacy policy to fall within EU legal framework. CNIL has also ordered Google to publish a document on its French website as a notification it has received the information about the fine.

"This publicity measure is justified by the extent of Google's data collection, as well as by the necessity to inform the persons concerned who are not in a capacity to exercise their rights," said CNIL.

The €150,000 fine is the maximum CNIL can issue.

Google maintains that its privacy policies respect European law and that its collection of data is only to create a better experience for users.

"Throughout our talks with CNIL, we have explained our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler and more efficient services," the company said in a statement.

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