Google could be slapped with a fine of up to €15 million ($19 million) for violating Netherland’s data protection laws, according to the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA), the country’s national privacy watchdog.
The DPA said that Google combines users’ private data such as browsing history and location information from different services, including Google Search, Youtube, and more, to target them with tailored ads, claiming that the company does this without adequately informing the users in advance.
“Google catches us in an invisible web of our personal data without telling us,” said DPA chairman Jacob Kohnstamm. “This has been ongoing since 2012 and we are hoping our patience will no longer be tested.”
The regulator has given the search giant until the end of February to comply with demands, including asking users for their consent before combining their personal data from the company's different services, as well as clearly informing them about what personal data is being used.
The news also comes a week after Google announced that it would discontinue Google News in Spain following a new copyright law that allows publishers in the country to charge online news aggregation services for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications.