French privacy authority gives Google 3 months to change its ways

French data protection regulator CNIL is losing patience with Google's refusal to change its privacy policy

France's data protection authority has given Google three months to change the way it handles users' private data, or face legal sanctions.

The order, made on June 10 and published Thursday, is the result of a formal investigation begun by the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL) in April, after the company repeatedly rejected requests to reverse changes it made to its privacy policy in March 2012.

In its June 10 decision, CNIL ordered Google to clearly explain to users the ways in which data collected about them will be used; to keep data for no longer than is necessary for the purposes it has declared to users; not to combine data from different sources without legal authority; to fairly process data collected from "passive" users of Google's services through DoubleClick and Analytics cookies or Google +1 buttons on the pages they visit; and to obtain informed consent from users before storing cookies in their mobile phone, PC or other terminal.

If it does not comply, Google could face a fine of a maximum of €150,000 (or €300,000 for a second offense), and could in certain circumstances be ordered to refrain from processing personal data in certain ways for a period of three months.

Such orders are usually secret, but CNIL decided that, given the gravity of the situation, it would publish the order as an additional sanction against Google.

Five other European data protection authorities began similar formal investigations of Google's privacy policy in April. The Spanish regulator has notified Google of its intention to impose sanctions if it does not comply with Spanish data protection law. The Data Protection Commissioner of Hamburg has also opened a formal procedure against Google, while authorities in the U.K., Italy and the Netherlands are still studying Google's updated privacy policy or are awaiting information from the company in order to determine whether it complies with local data protection laws.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglesecuritylegalFrench National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL)privacy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?