Google to be fined in France

Google hoped that France would surrender and let it do what it likes with European data have been dashed this week.

According to CMOGoogle is about to be slapped with a fine after it failed to comply with an order to alter how it stores and shares user data to conform to the nation’s privacy laws.

This follows an investigation led by European data protection authorities of a new privacy policy that Google enacted in 2012.

France’s privacy watchdog, the Commission Nationale de L’Informatique et des Libertes, said Google was ordered in June to comply with French data protection laws within three months.

Apparently Google, tearing a page from Charles de Gaulle’s diplomacy book, simply shrugged and said “non”.

Google insists that France’s data protection laws did not apply to users of certain Google services in France.

Now the CNIL will designate a rapporteur for the purpose of initiating a formal procedure for imposing sanctions, according to the provisions laid down in French data protection law.

Google could be fined a maximum of $202,562 which does not seem like much to us, and could in some circumstances be ordered to refrain from processing personal data in certain ways for three months.

Google said that its privacy policy respects European law. It insisted that it had “engaged fully” with the CNIL throughout this process. We would have thought that there should be a time when you have to call the engagement off.

The search engine is in trouble with European authorities in an antitrust case for allegedly breaking competition rules. The company recently submitted proposals to avoid fines in that case. In the UK, the outfit is finding itself on the back foot over its policy of refusing to pay tax which seems to have got officials a little hot under the collar.