France fines Google 150K€ for unclear practices around user data

Jan 8, 2014
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The CNIL, France’s data privacy regulatory board, released a statement this week following a meeting in which they determined that an update made to Google’s privacy policy, which violate European Union laws around data privacy. The 150,000€ fine comes with a requirement for the search giant to post a notice on its homepage (google.fr) within 8 days for a duration of 48 hours informing its users of the fine.

The update, made in March of 2012 during Google’s “everything is Google+” adjustments, was met with wide criticism at the time, though it’s not like anyone was going to use Bing or Duckduckgo, so users eventually forgot about it. The CNIL, however, did not.

The charges include:

  • Lack of sufficient information about how data is processed, how long it is stored, and what Google can do with it
  • Lack of sufficient notification prior to installing Cookies on browsers
  • Combing data across multiple services & devices “without any legal basis”

While internationals are often getting in trouble in Europe for bringing their loose, American data privacy laws (I think those still exist) across the Atlantic – lord knows Microsoft has been hit with its fair share of fines in the past – it does bring up a good point about how ever-present Google is in the average Internet-users life, as well as the fact that that presence is being leveraged, stored, and sold to advertisers.

Image Courtesy of 24Megabytes.com