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."

News
news
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
PROMOTED VIDEO
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: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

    Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

    Recruitment Genius: Java Developer

    £26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity for an ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Urgent - Cheshire - £25p/h

    £20 - £25 per hour: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a hu...

    Day In a Page

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day