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Google appeals fine, search page notice in French privacy fight

updated 07:28 am EST, Fri February 7, 2014

CNIL fine, 48-hour warning to users contested in court

Google is returning to court in France, to contest a fine and notification over its unified privacy policy. The €150,000 ($204,000) fine from France's National Commission on Computing and Freedom (CNIL) is being appealed by the search company, with an order to place a prominent notice to warn users about the ruling on Google.fr also being fought.

The fine, issued in mid-January, would have forced Google to display a notice on the French search page underneath the search box and "I'm feeling lucky" buttons for 48 hours, stating it had been fined and a link to the ruling hosted on the CNIL website. A member of Google's legal team has requested for the notice to not be displayed until it appeals the ruling due to the "irreparable" damage it would cause to the company's reputation, the Wall Street Journal reports. Patrice Spinosi, speaking on behalf of Google during a hearing, claimed "This is something we've never seen before. Google has always maintained that page in a virgin state," referring to the plain, clean appearance of the page.

The row stems from Google's streamlining of its privacy policies, which consolidated most information from over 70 different privacy policies into a single document. Regulators in Europe criticized the new policies, with CNIL ordering a number of changes so it would comply with the French Data Protection Act, something Google declined to perform.

This is not the only time the company's privacy policies have placed the company in legal trouble. Spanish regulators fined Google €900,000 ($1.23 million), after the company was accused of combining personal information from various Google products without informing users of its data collection plans.




by MacNN Staff

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