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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags advertisingInternet-based applications and servicesGooglesecurityCommission Nationale de L'Informatique et des Liberteslegislationgovernmentinternetsearch enginesprivacy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?