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Reding: Hit Google where it hurts to enforce data protection

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Staff writer ▼ | January 22, 2014
The way to get Google to comply with data privacy laws is to hit the company where it hurts: its bank balance, the European Union's Justice Commissioner said.
Google
GoogleThe way to get Google to comply with data privacy laws is to hit the company where it hurts: its bank balance, the European Union's Justice Commissioner said.


Although several E.U. countries have found Google's privacy policy breaks data protection laws, the fines handed out are no deterrent, Commissioner Viviane Reding said at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich.

In France Google was fined €150,000 by data protection authorities, while in Spain the search giant was fined €900,000. Those fines, the maximum allowed, were just "pocket money" to Google, Reding said.

"Taking Google's 2012 performance figures, the fine in France represents just 0.0003 percent of its global turnover," said Ms. Reding, adding that it was hardly a surprise that even two years after the case emerged Google has still not changed its privacy policy. "Europeans need to get serious. If a company has broken the rules and failed to mend its ways, this should have serious consequences."

Under new data protection laws proposed by Ms. Reding, sanctions could be up to two percent of global annual turnover. In the Google case, that would have meant a fine of €731 million ($1 billion).

Google remains under investigation by authorities in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Great Britain.


 

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