Spain data protection watchdog fines Google over privacy violation

December 22, 2013 3:54 PM

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SPAIN's data protection watchdog ordered internet giant Google yesterday to pay a fine of Euro900,000 ($1.38 million) for serious violations of users' privacy, after six months of legal action.

The Spanish Data Protection Agency accused the popular search provider of "illegal processing of personal data" obtained from users of various services such as Gmail accounts.

"Google unlawfully collects and processes personal information" of users, the agency said.

"The agency considers that Google seriously violates the right to the protection of personal data."

It ordered Google to pay Euro300,000 for each of three counts of breaching Spain's data protection law and ordered it to bring its privacy policy in line with legal norms.

It said Google's privacy policy did not clearly inform users of how it uses data collected, for example information from emails that is gathered to generate targeted advertising. It also accused Google of keeping the data for longer than legally justified and of making it difficult for users to query the use of their data.

Google has repeatedly stated that its privacy policy respects European law, despite investigations in several countries.

The Spanish DPA launched proceedings against Google in June. In September, France too said it would take action against the company, accusing it of breaching privacy norms. Authorities in Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Britain have also opened parallel actions.

Like other technology giants, Google has come under scrutiny following revelations of online eavesdropping by US and other intelligence agencies.

However, a survey conducted for the Computer & Communications Industry Association found that internet users are more concerned about the theft of personal and financial information than about online privacy and tracking by marketers.

Source: prpick.com

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