The Internet search giant
), already troubled over a
long-running tax evasion dispute
in Europe, faced some fresh regulatory issues this week.
In the United Kingdom -- the country that contributed 11% to
Google's revenues in 2012 -- the Information Commissioner's Office
gave the company 35 days
to remove private user data it "mistakenly collected" under the
Google Street View project. If the company fails to do so, this
will be considered a criminal offense.
Google previously ran into roughly the same problem in Germany
where it was fined $190,000 in April for "one of the biggest data
protection rules violations known," as the representative of a
local regulator put it
for around $142,000 over the same matter in 2011, while in the
US, it cost Google $7 million
to settle a similar case.
Photo courtesy of Google Inc
In addition to the Google Street View issues, France
delivered yet another blow to the company
via a statement from the National Commission for Computing and
Civil Liberties (CNIL). The regulator said that Google violated the
French Data Protection Act by failing to fully inform users of how
their private data might be used, and not providing them with
enough control over the data. Google was given three months to,
among other things, "Define specified and explicit purposes to
allow users to understand practically the processing of their
personal data" and not to aggregate users' data "without legal
In October 2012, the
looked into privacy issues and sent Google CEO Larry Page a letter
with a set of recommendations for the company to implement within
four months. But Google "has not implemented any significant
compliance measures," CNIL says.
If Google fails to comply this time, sanctions may follow. It won't
hurt the company's bottom line, though:
that CNIL could only fine the company for roughly $200,000
(€150,000) and other regulators could cite Google for up to 2
million euros in fines, or less than a hundredth of 1% of Google's
annual net income.
reported to be launching a similar probe into the
, with the UK, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands also
Google is facing a number of new legal and privacy challenges in
global markets, too. Earlier this week, 10 privacy authorities
representing different countries from Australia to Mexico
asked the company
to answer a number of tough privacy-related questions about its
upcoming product Google Glass.
In its home market of the US, Google is now challenging the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) in an attempt to get a legal
publish the aggregate number of FISA orders
. The company seeks to restore customer confidence after a series
of leaks alleging that it provided data to US authorities
under the so-called PRISM program
dismissed the allegations,
but the tech giant is now trying to be even more transparent about
its cooperation with governments.
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