A European privacy watch dog has called Google to stand before it on charges in order to answer for violations of EU privacy laws.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has had a mixed relationship with European regulators in recent year. On the one hand, the organization’s antitrust probe into the company appears destined to end amicably, on the other, the firm was today called before EU watchdogs after it failed to fix privacy problems in the time it was given to do so.
The news, which was reported today by Bloomberg, stated that the tech giant will have to come before the European Union’s data privacy watch dogs in the coming weeks to answer for its transgressions. The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, a collection of EU privacy groups, had asked Google to bring itself in line with EU regulations.
After Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) failed to respond to that challenge in a “precise and effective” and effective way. The group, led by France’s National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL), has said it may start “repressive action” later in 2013 if Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) fails to respond acceptably.
The summons brings to the fore the complexity of the European Union’s regulatory organs. With one hand they might give while another takes away. The fact that Google is being pursued by a single French agency with the support of similar national entities makes the case even more layered.
In the anti-trust case against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), the search giant is expected to come up with proposals that will ease some of the suspicions of the regulators. If the regulators agree to the proposals, the case will be finished and Google will be allowed to go on its way. The privacy watch dogs do not seem to be as forgiving, particularly as it feels the firm flouted its authority in the past.
This case is not on the same scale as the anti-trust investigation, however, and is unlikely to phase the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) accounting department. The heaviest fine ever doled out by the French regulator was €100,000, the kind of money Google dedicates to products any other firm would deem silly. That fine was levied on Google in 2011 for issues relating to its Street View service.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares were up by a fraction on today’s market, investors clearly unconcerned with the company’s privacy troubles. Since the start of 2013, the company’s shares have risen by around 14%.