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Google braces for fines in Europe over privacy policy

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The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands are all launching investigations

Neelie Kroes, Brussels
Neelie Kroes, Brussels

After a lengthy investigation, the French independent administrative authority CNIL has advised EU countries to take action against Google over its privacy policy. In a press release today, CNIL said that Google has failed to respond to its requests to modify the policy, and the watchdog passing the matter over to member states to deal with accordingly. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands were all involved in the investigation, and It's now up to regulators in each country to look into the matter and decide what action to take.

A spokesperson for the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) told us that it is launching a new investigation following on from CNIL's. The purpose of the investigation is to establish if Google's privacy policy violates the UK's Data Protection Act. The ICO also confirmed that several data protection authorities across Europe are launching similar probes.

Google streamlined its privacy policy over a year ago, and has received a lot of criticism for doing so. The US attorneys general, European Union, and other bodies have all looked into the policy, and now the CNIL has finished its investigation, Google could see fines levied by several European countries. We reached out to Google for comment on the matter, who gave us the following statement:

"Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the [Data Protection Authorities] involved throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward."