Feeds

Google fined by Spanish data watchdog over audacious privacy tweak

Ordered to hand over pathetically trivial wad of Euros

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Google has been fined a piddling €900,000 for three separate breaches of Spain's Data Protection Act.

The country's information watchdog (AEPD) said that Google had "impeded" the exercise of its citizens' rights, after the ad giant controversially revised its terms and conditions for netizens in March 2012 - despite a public outcry in Europe.

The audacious move led to a investigation from France's Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) - on behalf of the European Union's Article 29 Working Party - to determine whether Google had violated data laws.

In September, CNIL warned Google that it would face fines after failing to comply with the French data regulator's orders to make changes to its privacy policy.

The AEPD said in its ruling that, among other things, it had found that Google too often used "ambiguous expressions" in its Ts&Cs, leading to policy which was "indeterminate and unclear".

Google has claimed that it "respects" data protection law in the 28-member-state bloc. "We’ll be reading their report closely to determine next steps," a Google spokesman told The Register this morning.

Spain's sanctions - which relate to three different breaches with penalties of €300,000 each - are the first to be made public (PDF - in Spanish). More fines are expected to follow.

Late last month, the data watchdog in the Netherlands concluded that Google had broken national data protection law. The Dutch Data Protection Authority said at the time that Google had breached the country's rules because it had failed to adequately inform all its users in advance about the changes it was making to its service. It has not yet dished out any fines, however.

Data cops in the UK, Germany and Italy are mulling over enforcement actions against Google for the changes to its privacy policy, which jarred with some who complained that the strategy exposed users to having their info being more easily mined by admen.

Britain's Information Commissioner's Office - known for its lighter touch compared to its European counterparts when it comes to imposing fines - is yet to decide what action, if any, should be taken against Google.

A spokesman at the ICO told The Register this morning that the regulator's "investigation is still ongoing." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes
Linux Foundation lights a fire under storage devs with new conference
Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts
Samba implementation? Time to get some devs on the job
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?