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French fine Google “a pittance”

Ignores the watchdog

France's data protection watchdog has fined Google 150,000 euros after the U.S. search engine ignored a three-month ultimatum to bring its practices on tracking and storing user information in line with local law. Obviously, 150,000 euros is not really much to Google but it is the highest fine that the privacy watchdog, known as CNIL, has ever levied so it is probably not used to this sort of thing.

The watchdog has barked that Google needed to post the decision on its homepage for 48 hours within eight days of being officially notified of the ruling. At issue was the new approach to user data that Google began in March 2012, in which it consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one and started combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. And it gave users no means to opt out.

"The company does not sufficiently inform its users of the conditions in which their personal data are processed, nor of the purposes of this processing," CNIL said in a statement.

Google does not seem to care much and has told the watchdog that it will consider its recommendations given the fullness of time, a full inquiry and deep thought. It still thinks that the CNIL does not really understand its privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler and more efficient services.

Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have also opened similar cases against Google because the US-based web giant's privacy policy introduced in 2012 does not conform with local rules protecting consumers on how their personal data is processed and stored.

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