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Google facing astronomical fines in France

Staff writer |
In June 2013, CNIL gave Google three months to align its policies with French data protection rules. CNIL is now opening a procedure to impose formal sanctions and the fines imposed on Google could be astronomical.

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French data protection agency CNIL said the search engine ignored a three-month ultimatum to bring its practices in line with French laws. In France Google can be fined up to 150,000 euros ($203,100), however CNIL is considering whether it would be legally possible to count every Google user in France as an infraction. That will allow it to multiply the $203,000 with all users in the country.

From February to October 2012, the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) investigated into Google's privacy policy with the aim of checking whether it met the requirements of the European data protection legislation.

On the basis of its findings, published on 16 October 2012, the WP29 asked Google to implement its recommendations within four months. After this period has expired, Google has not implemented any significant compliance measures.

The investigation led by the CNIL has confirmed Google's breaches of the French Data Protection Act of 6 January 1978, which, in practice, prevents individuals from knowing how their personal data may be used and from controlling such use.

Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have also opened similar cases against Google because the U.S.-based web giant's privacy policy introduced in 2012 does not conform with local rules protecting consumers on how their personal data is processed and stored.

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