In March of last year, Google took all its various privacy policies, and rolled them a single document, which users – if they wanted to continue using Google services – were pretty much compelled to sign.
But as we noted last year, the trade-off was substantial: Google could henceforce collect and compile user data from all of its services, in order to improve search results. And predictably, the outcry was fast and loud. The move, one detractor said, was "frustrating and a little frightening." Another wondered if details that users "thought might be private on one [Google platform might] be revealed in unexpected ways on another."
Now CNIL says regulators in six European countries – France, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands – will "carry out further investigations according to the provisions of its national law[s]." That's not good news for Google, which could eventually face fines from European regulators. As the AP notes, Britain could fine Google 500,000 pounds, while CNIL could levy a penalty of $385,000. Google has not commented on the CNIL announcement.
"There is a wider debate going on about personal data and who owns and controls personal data," Colin Strong, a technology analyst with GfK, told the Associated Press today. "The question is the extent to which consumers understand the value of their personal data and the extent that they are happy with the trade that they're getting."
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