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Google ordered to display privacy fine

Date
Google: Will display links to rivals in addition to its own services.

Google: Will display links to rivals in addition to its own services. Photo: AFP

Google will have to display on its French search page a notice saying it has been fined by the local data-protection watchdog over how user information is tracked and stored, France's top administrative court ruled on Friday.

The US search engine said it would comply with the order but would keep fighting the €150,000 ($228,147) fine issued last month by privacy watchdog CNIL.

CNIL has objected to Google's method of combining data collected on individual users across services such as YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. The move towards broad storage was introduced by Google in March 2012 and combined 60 privacy policies into one, giving users no means to opt out.

The web giant appealed the CNIL's fine last month as well as the order to post a notice of the sanction on its google.fr homepage for 48 hours. Google specifically asked the Conseil d'Etat, France's top administrative court, to suspend that order while it re-examines the case.

On Friday, the Conseil d'Etat ruled that there was not enough urgency nor proof of damage to Google's reputation to warrant such a suspension. This means Google will have to post the CNIL's decision on its French homepage even while it keeps fighting it in court.

"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," a Google spokesman said in an e-mailed statement.

"We will comply with the order to post the notice, but we'll also continue with our appeal before the Conseil d'Etat."

Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have also opened similar cases against Google, arguing that its privacy policy breached local rules protecting consumers on how their personal data is processed and stored.

2 comments

  • About time someone took Google to task about privacy. Google does not accept a PayPal payment option on it's Google Play site forcing customers to register with Google wallet to pay for any Android purchases. The registration requires extensive mandatory private information. Whilst there are many other companies besides Google doing this, it is a new form of legal extortion where the company derives financial benefit by forcing it's customers to disclose private information which it then uses or sells. Countries need to bring legislation up to date to prevent forced disclosure of private information. It is getting out of control. Imagine the scenario when every time you bought milk from the local store you had to provide your full name address postcode telephone email and password. Clearly legislators are a long way behind where the legislation needs to be. Time to catch up!

    Commenter
    De JaView
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    February 10, 2014, 3:59PM
    • Google is a private company. It is not a public utility that has to facilitate its competitors, force anybody to use it or anything else.

      If you don't like how Google does things, the answer is simple - don't use Google and don't do any business with Google or its subsidiaries.

      Google requires customers to disclose private information. That's entirely up to the customer and if the customer doesn't want to do this, the customer is free to go and do business with another company.

      How Google ranks its listings is entirely up to Google. If Google ranks its own facilities higher than anybody else, that's fine - Google is not obliged to facilitate its competitors.

      This whole thing reminds me of the Microsoft debacle, where the EU demanded that Windows not include Internet Explorer in it. What crap. Windows is a proprietary operating system and Microsoft has the right to include or exclude anything it wants. If browser competitors don't like Windows including IE, they are free to develop and market their own operating systems and stick their browsers in them.

      At this point, Google ought to tell the EU to shove their fine where the sun don't shine, pull its facilities out of the EU and tell all their EU customers that it's business as usual - except Google will conduct it from the USA and all payments will be made on-line and out of EU jurisdiction. And if those EU customers don't like it, they can go elsewhere.

      It's time that the EU and its crap was stared down.

      Commenter
      Ziggy
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      February 11, 2014, 9:20AM
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