France leads European round of attacks against Google's privacy policy

National privacy commission threaten fines of up to €300,000
if policies are not changed within 3 months.

Google has come under fire once more over privacy concerns, this time from a consortium of European nations. France’s data protection watchdog, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) has announced that the search giant will face heavy fines if it does not rewrite its privacy policy within the next three months.

As Google’s privacy policy currently stands it is in breach of French law as it “prevents individuals from knowing how their personal data may be used and from controlling such use.”

The CNIL is threatening Google with a fine of up to €150,000 (£128,000) and a second payment of €300,000 (£256,000) if it fails to comply with its six requirements. These include limits on how long users’ data is kept and a ban on combining individuals’ data “without legal basis.”

The dispute between France and Google has been on-going since early 2012, when the web firm altered its privacy policy so that 60 different services it controls (including the likes of Google+, Gmail and YouTube) could co-ordinate their data on specific individuals.

The CNIL’s threats are not unusual. The most severe fine France has levied against Google so far was for €100,000 in 2011 for breaches incurred by the company’s Street View mapping service. Hamburg (where Google has its main German base) also fined Google for €145,000 in April this year after data concerning individuals’ wireless-networks was collected by Street View cars.

Although France is currently spearheading the legal action, it has the backing of 27 European privacy commissioners who asked France to lead enquiries on their behalf last October. Six other countries will be following this current bout of legislation with their own formal investigations.

“France, Spain, the U.K. at the start of next week and Germany at the end of next week will all take a formal and official decision to start repressive proceedings against Google,” said Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chairwoman of the CNIL, “and a second salvo will come from Italy and the Netherlands by the end of July.”

As well as limits on data retention and combining datasets, the CNIL is also asking that Google request users’ approval before collecting information via services such as DoubleClick and Google+ ‘+1’ buttons (the equivalent of the Facebook like). These are tools operated by Google but that run on third-party websites.

Falque-Pierrotin did note, however, that the notice given by the CNIL “isn’t very prescriptive” and that they are “leaving Google some leeway to reach compliance.”

An official statement from Google 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."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Engineer - Linux, Windows, Cloud - Central London

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + 10% bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engin...

    Recruitment Genius: Configuration and Logistics Team Member

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 30 years ...

    Guru Careers: Creative Director / Head of Creative

    £65K - £75K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Creative Director...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful IT reseller bas...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence