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The financial penalty is the highest ever handed down by CNIL's enforcement committee, CNIL said in a statement.
“It is justified by the number and the seriousness of the breaches stated in the case,” CNIL said.
The DPA ordered Google to publish notice of the decision on the Google.fr home page within eight days of receiving the enforcement ruling.
CNIL previously fined Google 100,000 euros ($135,745) over its collection of unsecured wireless Internet connection data using Street View mapping project vehicles, in what at the time was its largest financial penalty assessed to date (10 PVLR 479, 3/28/11).
In March 2012, Google began sharing--and tracking--user information across its e-mail, social networking, YouTube, search engine and other services, as part of a plan to integrate its 60 privacy policies into one policy (11 PVLR 426, 3/5/12).
CNIL said the enforcement committee determined that “nearly all internet users in France were impacted by this decision due to the number of services concerned.”
The enforcement committee said that unified Google policy doesn't sufficiently inform its users of the conditions in which their personal data are processed, nor of the purposes of the processing.
Users “neither understand the purposes for which their data are collected, which are not specific as the law requires, nor the ambit of the data collected through the different services concerned, the committee said. “Consequently, they are not able to exercise their rights, in particular their right of access, objection or deletion.”
In addition, the committee found that Google:
• doesn't comply with its obligation to obtain user consent prior to the storage of cookies on their terminals;
• fails to define retention periods applicable to the data which it processes; and
• permits itself to combine all the data it collects about its users across all of its services without any legal basis.
On Dec. 19, 2013, Spain's DPA levied a $1.2 million enforcement fine against Google over the unified policy (12 PVLR 2139, 12/23/13).
In November 2013, the Netherlands DPA ruled that Google was in violation of its data protection law but said it would not decide what specific enforcement action to take until after an as yet unscheduled hearing on the matter (12 PVLR 2057, 12/9/13).
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The enforcement committee's decision (No. 2013-420 of Jan. 3, 2014) is available, in French, at http://www.cnil.fr/fileadmin/documents/approfondir/deliberations/Formation_contentieuse/D2013-420_Sanction_Google.pdf.
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