Executives from the search engine Google have been consulting their French phrase book and are opening negotiations with the nation’s data protection watchdog.
The French are not surrendering and have been waving their arms and going huff and Oi and this has impressed the EU so much that it has asked the French regulator to investigate on its behalf.
France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique (CNIL) is examining Google’s new approach to privacy on behalf of data protection regulators of the 27 European Union member states to determine if it conforms with European law.
Things could go badly for Google if the watchdog barks or goes “huff” or, worse, gives a Gallic sniff or shrug of the shoulders.
The CNIL review could lead to financial penalties or administrative sanctions for the US search giant, of up to $382,200. Other European regulators can levy higher penalties which could push the bill up.
CNIL president Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin told Reuters in an interview that the French were not satisfied with these nasty hamburger scoffing Americans and set up this meeting to tell Google that it is way out of order.
Falque-Pierrotin said she wanted to untangle the precise way that specific personal data is being used for individual services, and examine what the benefit for people really is.
The Mountain View, California-based search behemoth says this allows it to better tailor search results and improve services for people. But the French point out that users are not allowed to opt out and any tailoring involved is gauche and has not been seen in Paris for several seasons.
Anthony House, a Google spokesman, is apparently confident its privacy notices “respected the requirements of European data protection law”.
“The meeting will give us a chance to put things into context and explain the broader actions we are taking to protect our users’ privacy,” he said.