France, Spain may fine Google

France and Spain are likely to fine US Internet giant Google Inc. over its policies on collecting user data, amid Washingtonâ„¢s controversial surveillance programs in Europe.

Reports said that the US National Security Agency (NSA) under the controversial Prism surveillance program secretly collected user data from nine American companies, including Google, in a bid to track peopleâ„¢s movements and contacts. The news makes the timing sensitive for Google.

The French National Commission on Computing and Freedom (CNIL) said on June 20 that Google has broken the French law. The search giant is given three months to alter its privacy rules or run the risk of paying a fine of up to 150,000 euros (about $200,000).

The CNIL added that the UK, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands are due to take a similar action against Google. The French National Commission on Computing and Freedom has been leading Europeâ„¢s inquiry since Google launched its consolidated privacy policy in March 2012.

Å“By the end of July, all the authorities within the (EU data protection) task force will have taken coercive action against Google,” said CNIL President Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin.

Meanwhile, Spainâ„¢s Data Protection Agency (AEPD) told Google that it would face a fine between 40,000 euros and 300,000 euros for each of the five suspected data breaches that include disproportionate use of private data and storing private information for excessive or undetermined periods.

Google merged its 60 privacy policies into one and began combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+, in 2012. The new policy allows Google to track users across all its platforms.

The move prompted Europeâ„¢s national data protection regulators to launch a joint inquiry and give Google until February to offer changes. However, Google did not cooperate.

According to a spokesman for Germanyâ„¢s data protection regulator, Google representatives are to answer allegations on the issue in a German court hearing next week.

MR/HSN

This article originally appeared on: Press TV