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France threatens Google with privacy fines

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Posted June 21, 2013
In this Dec. 6, 2011 file photo, the Google logo is seen on the carpet at Google France offices before its inauguration, in Paris. France is giving Google three months to abide by the country's data privacy laws or be fined. The chief of the French agency that regulates information technology says that five other European countries are taking similar steps in a staggered offensive against Google's privacy policy between now and the end of July. The French agency says Spain joined France in the first wave of legal action Thursday June, 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, Pool, File)

In this Dec. 6, 2011 file photo, the Google logo is seen on the carpet at Google France offices before its inauguration, in Paris. France is giving Google three months to abide by the country’s data privacy laws or be fined. The chief of the French agency that regulates information technology says that five other European countries are taking similar steps in a staggered offensive against Google’s privacy policy between now and the end of July. The French agency says Spain joined France in the first wave of legal action Thursday June, 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, Pool, File)

France is giving Google three months to be more upfront about the data it collects from users—or be fined. Other European countries aren’t far behind.

Now it’s up to Google to decide whether the relatively small fines are enough of an incentive to rethink its privacy rules—the Internet giant risks a €300,000 euro ($402,180) penalty in France.

Europe’s a big market, but one where Google has no serious competition.

However, the company does have a reputation problem when it comes to protecting user privacy. Thursday’s legal action puts new pressure on Google, which is smarting from criticism over providing customer data to the U.S. government as part of its fight against foreign terrorists.

The French agency that regulates information technology says that five other European countries are taking similar steps in a staggered offensive against Google’s privacy policy between now and the end of July. It says Google largely ignored earlier recommendations from European regulators.

Spain’s Data Protection Agency said Thursday that it had initiated sanction proceedings after initial investigations showed Google Spain and Google Inc. may be committing six infractions against the country’s data protection law. It said the company could also face fines of up to 300,000 euros.

The French National Commission on Computing and Freedom, known as CNIL, said Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands will join the procedures in the coming weeks.

The legal action accelerates a long-running European fight against Google over privacy, which is more rigorously protected in many European countries than in Google’s homeland, the United States.

Read more at: Phys.org

 

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