Google Could Face €15M Penalty from Dutch Data Protection Authority


The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) warned that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) could face a penalty of €15 million if it fails to change its privacy policy.

Google violates data protection act

According to the Dutch regulator, the search engine giant’s revised privacy policy that was implemented on March 1, 2012 violated the Data Protection Act.  The DPA said Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is prohibited from associating the personal information of internet users obtained through its different services without the consent of the person.

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Jacob Kohntamm, chairman of the DPA said, “Google captures us in an invisible web of our personal information without telling us that and without asking our permission.” He added that the search engine giant’s practice has been ongoing since 2012, and he is hoping that their patience will no longer be put to the test.

The DPA gave Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ”GOOGL) a chance to change its practice in handling users’ personal data until the end of February 2015.

Requirements for Google

The DPA required Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) to ask consent from users to combine data from its different services. For example, the search engine giant could provide a clear permission screen, according to the Dutch regulator.

The search engine giant was also instructed to make its privacy policy clear and consistent by explaining which personal data are used by its different services.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) must also provide a clear information that YouTube is part of the company. The DPA noted that the search engine giant already resolved this issue.

Google’s reaction to DPA’s order

“We’re disappointed with the Dutch Data Protection Authority’s order, especially as we have already made a number of changes to our privacy policy in response to their concerns,” according to a spokesperson from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

The spokesperson added that the search engine giant recently submitted some of the proposed further changes with the European privacy regulators, and they looking forward to discuss it soon.

The DPA is one of the six data protection authorities in Europe that launched separate investigations after Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) amended its privacy policy in 2012.

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