Spain fines Google for breaking data law

December 20, 2013: 3:55 AM ET
google spain
Google is facing pressure from several European countries to change its stance on user data.
HONG KONG (CNNMoney)

Spain has ordered Google to pay a fine of 900,000 euros ($1.23 million) over privacy violations.

The Spanish government's data protection agency accused Google (GOOG) of three breaches of a national law protecting personal data. The company didn't give users enough information about what data was collected, and how it would be used, according to a government statement.

"Google unlawfully collects and processes personal information," the agency said.

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The fine is small beans for the U.S. tech giant but the Spanish government's decision reflects growing concern regarding the collection and use of personal data, which is typically stored in the cloud. Using the cloud allows data to be stored remotely, giving individuals little control over what, and how long, personal information gets siloed.

Google has "engaged fully with the Spanish [data protection agency] throughout this process to explain our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler, more effective services, and we'll continue to do so," said a company spokesperson. "We'll be reading their report closely to determine next steps."

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Google's Schmidt on maintaining privacy

In March 2012, Google changed its privacy policy, which allows it to track and collect user activity data across its platforms and services, which include e-mail, internet search and You Tube, among others.

Google has been in hot water lately with European authorities. Last month, the Dutch data protection regulator said that the company was illegally using personal data. Google is also facing enforcement actions and fines in the U.K. and France.


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