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." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
VMware vaporises vCHS hybrid cloud service
AnD yEt mOre cRazy cAps to dEal wIth
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
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?