The fight between Google and European authorities is getting even more intense!
You can read my earlier post – click here
After the group found out that Google had plans to change its privacy policies, they politely asked Google to “pause” their plans to carry out the change because they needed a sufficient amount of time to fully investigate Google. Europeans take their online privacy very seriously. They wanted enough time to complete their analysis to make sure their citizens were protected from any violations or exploitation of their personal data.
Google was well aware that the Working Party didn’t really have authority itself to enforce its recommendation.
Oh no you didn’t!
Hold on, not so fast!
Well, fast forward almost 4 weeks later and the European privacy regulators are back with a vengeance! The Article 29 Working Party decided to give its French data protection member the lead task to investigate Google. The scathing preliminary result of that investigation was released yesterday to the media. The French privacy agency is called the National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) – and they did not mince words. In a letter addressed to Google (dated February 27th, 2012), the French agency is brutally honest with their assessment:
“The CNIL and the EU data protection authorities regret that Google did not accept to delay the application of this new policy which raises legitimate concerns about the protection of the personal data of European citizens.”
I previously wrote about how Google has a problem telling its users the whole truth. For more on that – click here
“By merging the privacy policies of its services, Google makes it impossible to understand which purposes, personal data, recipients or access rights are relevant to the use of a specific service. As such, Google’s new policy fails to meet the requirements of the European Data Protection Directive”
“The CNIL and the EU data protection authorities are deeply concerned about the combination of data across services and have strong doubts about the lawfulness and fairness of such processing. They intend to address these questions in detail with Google’s representatives”
Oh SNAP! Ha-ha…Google must be really red-faced right about now.
And, for your information, the French authority has the power to fine companies up to 300,000 euros (or about $400,000) for each breach of privacy. It can also ask a court to stop the company from violating privacy laws. Other European countries can enforce their laws in similar ways too.
Hey Google, don’t try to pull a fast one on European privacy protection groups – they can knock you out, ha!
To read the full letter CNIL sent to Google, click here (PDF)
CNIL’s website – click here
For more information:
New York Times, “France Says Google Privacy Plan Likely Violates European Law” – click here
The Telegraph, “Google privacy overhaul ‘unlawful’, say regulators” – click here