Google fined 900,000 for breaking Spanish privacy laws

By on December 20, 2013, 10:30 AM
google, france, privacy, european union, dutch, privacy policy, spanish

Spain's privacy watchdog has slapped Google with a fine of €900,000 ($1.23 million) for violating the country's data protection laws "when combining personal information from its many different online services and failing to inform users clearly on how it uses their data", Reuters reported.

The Spanish agency pointed out that Google filtered the content of e-mails and files to display advertisements but didn't sufficiently inform users about it, and when the company did, the language used was generic and unclear. The agency also said that the search giant collected data for unspecified purposes and kept it for an indefinite period of time.

The new privacy policy, which Google created in March 2012, enabled it to share user data from one service to another. While the search giant said that this would enhance user experience, many argued that data collection could compromise the anonymity of users.

Google's decision triggered privacy investigations in at least six European countries. While the Dutch data protection watchdog last month accused Google of breaking an identical law, the company is already facing sanctions in France after it failed to amend its privacy policy. Other countries like Italy, Germany, and UK may also decide to fine the company in coming months.

Google made more than $50 billion in revenue last year and has a market capitalization of over $350 billion. According to a ZDNet report, the company can recoup the fine in less than 3 minutes. The company said in a statement that it will decide the next step only after studying the report and will continue to cooperate with the agency.

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