Published: Tue, January 22, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

France fines Google $57 million for European privacy rule breach

France fines Google $57 million for European privacy rule breach

"Also, the information provided is not sufficiently clear for the user to understand that the legal basis for targeted advertising is consent, and not Google's legitimate business interests", the CNIL said.

French regulators on Monday hit Google with a $57 million penalty-the first fine targeting a US technology giant under Europe's strict new data privacy rules.

The outside of the Google offices is seen in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 18, 2019.

Although Google responded to the decision by saying that they committed to meeting the "high standards of transparency and control" expected of them by users - as well as by the strict new European Union data law - they are nonetheless challenging the decision.

The regulator also pointed out that Google is "too generic and vague" when telling users how it will use their data, and there is also information missing about how long the data will be stored.

The fine stems from digital advocacy group complaints that followed shortly after GDPR took effect in May 2018.

"The amount decided, and the publicity of the fine, are justified by the severity of the infringements observed regarding the essential principles of the GDPR: transparency, information and consent", the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) said in a statement.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The information Google does provide "is not easily accessible for users", it said, as it is "excessively disseminated across several documents" and requiring as many as five or six actions to access.

European pressure groups None Of Your Business (Noyb) and La Quadrature du Net had brought a complaint against Google and other internet companies including Facebook for failing to have a valid legal basis for processing the personal data of service users. It has been reported that Google is "studying the decision", but the company has previously admitted it would comply with GDPR rules. We're deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR.

"This type of procedure leads the user to give global consent. but the consent is not "specific" as the GDPR requires", the regulator said. For instance, an option box for choosing whether to display personalized ads was already pre-ticked, which takes the action away from the user. Companies that violate the legislation may be fined up to 20 million euros or 4 percent of their annual turnover. "It is important that the authorities make it clear that simply claiming to be complaint is not enough".

"As a result the company has a special responsibility when it comes to respecting their obligations in this domain", it said.

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