Feeds

Google fined by Spanish data watchdog over audacious privacy tweak

Ordered to hand over pathetically trivial wad of Euros

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
729 teraflops, 71,000-core Super cost just US$5,500 to build
Cloud doubters, this isn't going to be your best day
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
SAVE ME, NASA system builder, from my DEAD WORKSTATION
Anal-retentive hardware nerd in paws-on workstation crisis
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.