Google fined $57 million for privacy breach
On Monday Alphabet’s Google was fined 50 million euros ($57 million) by France’s data protection watchdog for breaching European Union online privacy rules. The biggest such penalty levied against a US tech giant.
The French regulator told the world’s biggest search engine lacked transparency and clarity in the way it informs users about its handling of personal data and failed to properly obtain their consent for personalized ads.
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the biggest shake-up of data privacy laws in more than 20 years, came into power in the month of May. It let users control their personal data better and give regulators the authority to impose fines of up to 4 per cent of global revenue for violations.
In a statement, the CNIL said, “The amount decided and the publicity of the fine, is justified by the severity of the infringements observed regarding the essential principles of the GDPR: transparency, information and consent”.
Google issued a declaration saying that people “expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We’re deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR,” adding that it was investigating its next steps.
The CNIL decision follows complaints by two NGOs, None Of Your Business and La Quadrature du Net (LQDN), which the regulator said had been mandated by 10,000 people to present the case.
Sonia Cissé, Managing Associate at Linklaters told,“More than just a significant amount of money, this sanction is particularly detrimental to Google as it directly challenges its business model and will, in all likelihood, require them to deeply modify their provision of services”.
The French authority, known for its stringent interpretation of privacy rules and for favouring a tough approach toward US Internet companies, sets a record with this penalty, which could reverberate in Silicon Valley.