France tells Google: 'change privacy policy or face fines'

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France tells Google: 'change privacy policy or face fines'

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Google has found itself in hot water in France. The country’s data protection watchdog has told the internet giant to change its privacy policy or face a 150,000 euro fine.

The CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés) said that Google’s methods of collecting users’ data violated French privacy laws.

CNIL President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin said: “It may be a financial issue at the European level because as I said, some other Data Protection Acts have the possibility to have much higher financial fines.”

“I think it increases the pressure on Google for transparency, definitely, and the demand for trust from their users and also it increases the need for Europe to be unified and to cooperate on a European level,” Falque-Pierrotin continued.

In 2012 Google started combining personal information from users across its services including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. Users cannot opt out of this.

Several other European countries are now preparing to challenge Google. Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain are all looking into whether their privacy laws have been breached.

It all comes at a delicate time for the internet giant after revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) secretly gathered user data from nine American internet companies, including Google.