Google hit with fine in France over privacy violations

Google has been slapped with a fine by France's CNIL, a data protection entity that has taken issue with the Internet giant's privacy policy migration into a single unit. Though there's nothing inherently wrong with having a single unified privacy policy — which is arguably easier to deal with than a separate one for each service — the way in which Google pulled it off was in violation of France' s requirements. As a result, the company was fined $204,000.

Such an issue has been brewing for months. Back in September, we reported that the Commission Nationale de L'Informatique et des Libertes, more commonly called the CNIL, had accused Google of failing to follow through with changes it was required to make in order to be kosher with the nation's laws. Google was given three months to make the changes, and the deadline for that period ended in late September.

Google had claimed that France's privacy laws weren't applicable to all of the users in the nation, and new that it faced about $200,000 in fines if it didn't comply. The core of the issue is how the company advises users about what information it acquires from its users, as well as the means by which it gained permission for storing tracking cookies.

The result is the biggest fine the CNIL has issued, though for Google it is hardly a notable amount. Beyond that, Google is also required to put a notice up on its France domain. Said the CNIL: "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."


Image via Carlos Luna