• Mohan Chathuranga

Google Fined $57 Million for Breaking GDPR

The regulator, CNIL, said Google didn't properly explain how or why it collects people's data. Further Google didn't obtain proper consent to target ads at its users.

Google has been fined €50 million ($57 million) by the French privacy watchdog for breaching Europe's strict new privacy rules, the GDPR. France's data watchdog CNIL used its powers under GDPR to levy a considerably higher fine on Google than it could before. CNIL said Google doesn't clearly tell its users what it does with their personal data, and that its methods of gathering information are "particularly massive and intrusive."

CNIL also said Google doesn't properly ask for users' consent to target them with personalised ads.

The penalty is the largest to date under the European Union privacy law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, which took effect last May, and shows that regulators are following through on a pledge to use the rules to push back against internet companies whose businesses depend on collecting data. Facebook is also a subject of several investigations by the data protection authorities in Europe.

The ruling on Monday takes aim at Google’s underlying business model, which is reliant on turning data on users into narrowly targeted ads.

A central element of Europe’s new regulations is that companies must clearly explain how data is collected and used. France’s data protection regulator, known as CNIL, said Google did not go far enough to get consent from users before processing data. Instead, it said, people are largely unaware of the data they are agreeing to share, or how Google plans to use the information.

In a statement, the regulator said Google’s practices obscured how its services “can reveal important parts of their private life since they are based on a huge amount of data, a wide variety of services and almost unlimited possible combinations.”

Google’s size — it has about 20 different services — makes its data-collection practices ”particularly massive and intrusive,” the French authorities said.

Google defended its policies and said it was determining whether to appeal.

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