Hit Google where it hurts to enforce data protection, urges EU Commissioner

Today's maximum fines are just pocket money to Google, and stronger sanctions are needed to guarantee compliance, said Viviane Reding

The way to get Google to comply with data privacy laws is to hit the company where it hurts: its bank balance, the European Union's Justice Commissioner said Monday.

Although several E.U. countries have found Google's privacy policy breaks data protection laws, the fines handed out are no deterrent, Commissioner Viviane Reding said at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich.

In France Google was fined €150,000 by data protection authorities, while in Spain the search giant was fined €900,000. Those fines, the maximum allowed, were just "pocket money" to Google, Reding said.

"Taking Google's 2012 performance figures, the fine in France represents just 0.0003 percent of its global turnover," she said adding that it was hardly a surprise that even two years after the case emerged Google has still not changed its privacy policy.

"Europeans need to get serious," she said. "If a company has broken the rules and failed to mend its ways, this should have serious consequences."

Under new data protection laws proposed by Reding, sanctions could be up to two percent of global annual turnover. In the Google case, that would have meant a fine of €731 million ($1 billion).

Google remains under investigation by authorities in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Great Britain.

Meanwhile, the future of data protection enforcement at the E.U. level remains uncertain, as the mandate of the current European Data Protection Supervisor has expired with no successor appointed. The term of office of the incumbent, Peter Hustinx, ran out last Thursday. His head of communication, Olivier Rossignol, said that Hustinx had spoken to the European Commission and would meet the European Parliament's justice committee this week with a view to possibly staying on the role until a replacement can be found.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags European Data Protection SupervisorGoogleregulationsecurityeuropean commissiongovernmentdata protectionprivacy

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.

Jennifer Baker

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® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

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

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?