Feeds

Google fined by Spanish data watchdog over audacious privacy tweak

Ordered to hand over pathetically trivial wad of Euros

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.