French fine Google over change in privacy policy

CNIL says Google broke a French privacy law when it merged the privacy policies of its services

The French government's privacy watchdog has fined Google €150,000 (US$204,000) over changes the company made to its privacy policy in March 2012.

The changes Google made to its privacy policy don't comply with the French Data Protection Act, the Commission Nationale de L'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL) said Wednesday.

Google's decision in 2012 to merge the privacy policies of about 60 of its services, including search YouTube, Gmail, Picasa and Docs, led to the French investigation. Google failed to sufficiently inform users about how the services would use their personal data and did not comply with French requirements to get user permission before installing cookies on their computers, CNIL said. Google also combined the data it collects about its users "across all of its services without any legal basis," CNIL said in a press release.

Google's actions had a widespread effect in France, the agency said. "Nearly all Internet users in France are impacted by this decision due to the number of services concerned," it said.

A Google spokeswoman said the company is reading CNIL's report closely to determine its next steps. "We've engaged fully with the CNIL throughout this process to explain our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler, more effective services," she added by email.

CNIL's Sanctions Committee did not challenge Google's right to simplify its privacy policies by merging them, the agency said.

The Sanctions Committee has ordered Google to publish the agency's decision at Google.fr within 48 hours and keep it up for eight days.

CNIL announced an investigation into the privacy policy change in September.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Non-linear transformation: The internal struggle

Let’s face it, transformation is messy. Every business is different, with a set of specific challenges based on a mixture of external (the market, competitors, regulation) and internal factors (technology, people and process investments over time).

Neil Kelly

Partner, transformation, Wunderman Thompson

7 ways to champion a human centred design culture

Human Centred Design (HCD) has come a long way in the last decade with many forward-thinking organisations now asking for HCD teams on their projects. It’s increasingly seen as essential to unlocking innovation, driving superior customer experiences and reducing delivery risk.

Shane Burford

Head of research and design, RXP Group

Building a human-curated brand

If the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) sector and their measured worth are the final argument for the successful 21st Century model, then they are beyond reproach. Fine-tuning masses of algorithms to reduce human touchpoints and deliver wild returns to investors—all with workforces infinitesimally small compared to the giants of the 20th Century—has been proven out.

Will Smith

Co-founder and head of new markets, The Plum Guide

Hi Jennifer,Fascinating read about design-led companies!If you would like to learn more, our Design Thinking and Innovation programme mig...

Andrea Foster

How to spot a ‘design-led’ versus ‘design-fed’ company

Read more

ABC web-site not easy to use/navigate. Even getting this far in sign-on to ABC My Space was problematic - it was asking for my password,...

Vee.

How the ABC used an online community to help build a movement

Read more

Thank you for your feedback, Astha! Always appreciated.

Vanessa Skye Mitchell

5 things marketers should know about data privacy in 2020

Read more

Hey Vanessa, thanks for providing us the things marketers should know about data privacy. This was really an informative post.

astha sharma

5 things marketers should know about data privacy in 2020

Read more

Well, that's good to know that. Any other news you want to share here? I can't wait to see more.

Phil Godfrey

Queensland appoints first chief customer and digital officer

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in