Business Technology

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Google privacy: European authorities threaten fine

France is giving Google three months to abide by the country's data privacy laws or be fined (AP)
France is giving Google three months to abide by the country's data privacy laws or be fined (AP)

FRANCE has said it will fine Google if it doesn't change its privacy policy within three months, and claims five other European countries will do the same.

The data protection watchdog, CNIL (Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés), is leading a European push against Google's data use.

The chief of the French agency said Spain had joined France in the first wave of legal action on Thursday, and that Britain, Germany, Italy and Netherlands will join within the next few weeks.

CNIL President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said: "By the end of July, all the authorities within the (EU data protection) task force will have taken coercive action against Google."

France's formal warning gives the company three months to make changes to its privacy practises, such as clarifying its intentions and methods for data collection.

If the internet search giant fails to meet these requirements, Google risks a fine of up to €150,000 followed by a second fine of €300,000 if it fails to act.

Britain is still considering whether its law has been breached and will write to Google soon with its findings.

Google said it use of data respects European laws and would continue to work with the authorities in France.

A spokesman said: "Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the authorities involved throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward."

EU governments have attempted to influence Google's behaviour for more than a year, but the CNIL warning comes soon after controversial revelations that the US National Security Agency was using data from nine US interet companies, including Google, for surveillance. American authorities have found the search giant has not abused its virtual monopoly.

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