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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Google vs. French Watchdog

It looks like that the executives from the search giant Google need to consult their French phrasebook and to start negotiations with the country’s information protection watchdog. Thus far, it seems that Google has mastered the words “sit” and “stay” and believes that will be enough to address any questions about its new user privacy policy.

Google has introduced a new privacy policy which implied sharing users’ information between all its various services like YouTube, Gmail and its new social network Google+. However, the French decided they won’t surrender and persuaded the European Union to ask the French regulator to investigate on its behalf.

The country’s Commission Nationale de l'Informatique (CNIL) is currently examining the new approach of the search giant to privacy on behalf of information protection regulators of the 27 EU member states in order to find out whether it complies with European legislation.

This all may end badly for the search giant if CNIL doesn’t like the new policy. The watchdog’s review could result in financial penalties or administrative sanctions for Google, of up to $382,200. In addition, other European regulators can also levy penalties that would push the bill up.

CNIL president claimed in an interview that the outfit wasn’t satisfied with the Google’s policy and set up this meeting to tell the search giant that it’s way out of order. The head of the outfit explained that she wanted to untangle the precise way that certain private information is being used for individual services, as well as examine what the benefit for Internet users really is.

According to the California-based search engine, this allows Google to better tailor search results and thus improve services for its users. However, the French reply that Internet users “aren’t allowed to opt out and any tailoring involved is gauche and hasn’t been seen in the country for several seasons”.

Google’s representatives are apparently confident that their privacy notices respected the requirements of EU information protection legislation. The suggested meeting can give the company another chance to put things into context and deliver the broader actions Google is going to take in order to protect its users’ privacy.

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