Google Fined $204,200 Penalty by French Agency in Data Privacy Case

 
 
By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2014-01-09 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


The controversy over privacy and Google's user policies has been simmering for some time. In May 2012, French regulators accused Google of not being cooperative with investigators looking into privacy issues concerning the company and its practices there. The CNIL had sent Google a questionnaire about the new privacy policy in March 2012, but the agency complained that Google's answers were "often incomplete or approximate." A follow-up survey also left questions remaining.

Earlier in April 2013, France and five other European nations announced that the slow pace of Google's progress on privacy issues caused them to plan their own steps to ensure improved data privacy for their citizens. A European task force being led by the CNIL has been waiting since October 2012 for satisfactory progress from Google on how the search giant would make privacy improvements to protect users of its online services.

Google merged the 60 privacy policies to help break down the identity barriers between some of its services to accommodate its then-new Google+ social network, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Google's streamlining came as regulators continued to criticize Google, Facebook and other Web service providers for offering long-winded and legally gnarled privacy protocols. The Google privacy policy changes went into effect March 1, 2012.

In April 2013, Google was hit with a $189,167 fine in Germany for collecting user data without fully disclosing the practice as Google Street View vehicles combed German streets collecting information for its maps from 2007 to 2010.

A similar case in the United States was resolved in March 2013 when a $7 million settlement was reached between Google and the U.S. government to end a probe into the Street View imaging program, which for three years collected personal information on users wirelessly as the Street View vehicles drove around taking photographs. The $7 million fine against Google was designed to resolve investigations that were under way by some 30 state attorneys general over the controversial Street View program.

Google's progress on developing clearer, better-known policies regarding how it will use any of the personal data belonging to its users has become a sore point with many governments around the world, which say that the search giant is not moving quickly enough to address such privacy concerns.

Google could potentially be fined about $1 billion for shortcomings in its data privacy policies in Europe.

 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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