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Spain And France Take Action Against Google On Privacy

posted 21 Jun 2013, 12:26 by Mpelembe   [ updated 21 Jun 2013, 12:27 ]

Spain's Data Protection Agency, along with France's data protection watchdog, lead a Europe-wide push to get U.S. Internet giant Google to change its policies on collecting user data.

MADRIDSPAIN (JUNE 21, 2013) (REUTERS) - Spain and France led a Europe-wide push to get U.S. Internet giant Google to change its policies on collecting user data on Thursday (June 20).

News that the U.S. National Security Agency under the Prism surveillance programme secretly gathered user data from nine U.S. companies, including Google, to track people's movements and contacts makes the timing especially sensitive for Google.

Spain's Data Protection Agency (AEPD) told Google it would be fined between 40,000 euros and 300,000 euros for each of the five violations of the law, that it had failed to be clear about what it did with data, may be processing a "disproportionate" amount and holding onto it for an "undetermined or unjustified" period of time.

France are also involved with their data protection watchdog, CNIL saying that Google had broken French law have given them three months to change its privacy policies or risk a fine of up to 150,000 euros ($200,000).

The CNIL, which has been leading Europe's inquiry since Google launched its consolidated privacy policy in March 2012, said Britain, GermanyItaly and the Netherlands would be taking similar action against the world's No. 1 search engine.

Google could face fines totalling several million euros.

"By the end of July, all the authorities within the (EU data protection) task force will have taken coercive action against Google," said CNIL President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin.

Last year, Google consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one and started combining data collected on individual users across its services, includingYouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. It gave users no means to opt out.

National data protection regulators in Europe began a joint inquiry as a result. They gave Google until February to propose changes but it did not make any. Google had several meetings with the watchdogs and argued that combining its policies made it easier for users to understand.

Britain is still considering whether its law has been broken and will write to Google soon with its findings, the CNIL said.