Google Forced to Display Fine Decision

GoogleGoogle has been forced to display the fine decision on the French page of its website. The European data protection watchdog made the decision after also announcing a 150,000 Euro ($228, 147) fine for breaching privacy laws.

The tech giant attempted to make one privacy policy, for all, for use in 2012. It collected information from all Google owned websites visited, including the Google search engine, YouTube and its social media platform. However, the French authorities deemed that it was not enough to protect citizens. France has the strictest of privacy laws in Europe for companies to follow, and the grouped privacy policy did not meet standards.

The officials also found it violated European privacy laws, but the tech giant has not been forced to display the sign on other European versions of its search engine, yet. However, the ruling has meant that other countries may end up following suit and taking the search engine giant to court. So far, Britain, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy have opened similar cases to look into the privacy standard and their own data protection laws.

The issue started last month when Google was forced to display the message about the fine decision for 48 hours. Wanting to have the case re-examined, the tech giant asked for the order to be suspended. It would then go to the Conseil d’Etat – the top administrative court in the country – for reconsideration.

On Friday, the court ruled that the suspension would not be granted. It deemed there was not enough proof that the company’s reputation would be damaged by the sign. Despite the company continuing to challenge the fine imposed, it has not had to place the sign to explain to its French users what has happened.

Google defended its actions for the global privacy standard, explaining that it allows developers to create more effective and simpler services. This had been explained during the court case, but the French still ruled in favor of the people.

This is not the first time the tech giant has come under-fire in France. It has also recently been slapped with a tax fine, worth one billion Euros ($1.36 billion), after raids took place in the company’s French offices. The raid took place in June 2011 and found that Google had attempted to reduce the French tax bill by channelling revenue through a company registered in Holland and then onto Ireland, where the tax rate is much lower. France’s rates of tax are much higher than most other places in the world.

The company has followed the legal ruling of the court and now has the message displayed on its website. It reads that the company has been fined 150,000 Euros because it breached the “Freedoms” law. It also includes the web address where the full decision can be viewed. The decision is in French, due to the location of the website owners, but goes over the reasons for the court case and the decision made by the judges. While the initial ruling was for Google to display the notice for 48 hours, Business Insider reports that it could be forced to have the fine decision on show for six months.

By Alexandria Ingham

Sources:

Business Insider
Daily Mail
CNIL

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