France orders Google to change its privacy policies

France orders Google to change its privacy policies

Charged with violations of the French Data Protection Act, the search
giant is under the gun to rework how it handles personal data.

Google has three months to clean up its privacy act in France or else.
On Thursday, French regulator CNIL (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertes) charged that Google’s policies for collecting user data continue to violate French law. If the company doesn’t modify those policies within the next three months, it would be fined 150,000 euros (almost $198,000). A second fine of 300,000 euros (almost $396,000) would follow if Google still fails to comply, Reuters reported.
Specifically, Google has been ordered to implement the following changes, as outlined by the CNIL:
  • Define specified and explicit purposes to allow users to understand practically the processing of their personal data.
  • Inform users by application of the provisions of Article 32 of the
    French Data Protection Act, in particular with regard to the purposes
    pursued by the controller of the processing implemented.
  • Define retention periods for the personal data processed that do not
    exceed the period necessary for the purposes for which they are
    collected.
  • Not proceed, without legal basis, with the potentially unlimited combination of users’ data.
  • Fairly collect and process passive users’ data, in particular with
    regard to data collected using the “Doubleclick” and “Analytics”
    cookies, “+1” buttons or any other Google service available on the
    visited page.
  • Inform users and then obtain their consent in particular before storing cookies in their terminal.
From February to October of 2012, the CNIL led an investigation into
Google’s privacy policies to determine if they were in compliance with
European law. Based on its findings, the group asked Google in October
to revise its policies within four months. But Google has yet to made
any “significant compliance measures,” the CNIL charged.
If Google doesn’t comply, it faces more than just the wrath of French regulators.
“By the end of July, all the authorities within the (EU data
protection) task force will have taken coercive action against Google,”
CNIL President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said, according to Reuters.
As a result, the company potentially faces fines of several million euros across Europe.
In response to the CNIL’s order, Google sent CNET this statement:
“Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create
simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the
authorities involved throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do
so going forward.”
Updated 7:15 a.m. PT
with response from Google.
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