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Google Fined $1.2M by Spanish Privacy Watchdog

Google Fined $1.2M by Spanish Privacy Watchdog
By Seth Fitzgerald

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Spain is one of the many E.U. nations to initiate a lawsuit or investigation into Google's business practices. With a much larger E.U. lawsuit still looming over Google after the courts decided not to accept Google's concessions, data violation fines like the one levied by Spain are making it very diffiult for Google to operate anywhere in the E.U.
 



Recently, Google has been in the news more for its fines and lawsuits than for new products. That theme is unlikely to end anytime soon now that Google has been slapped with another $1.2 million fine. Spain's privacy watchdog has hit Google with the million dollar fine for violating the country's data protection laws and "seriously infring[ing] [on] citizens' rights."

The Spanish data protection agency has found Google guilty in three separate instances and for each violation, they have fined the search giant nearly $400,000. All of the fines have come about due to Google's decision to share information from one of its services among all of its services without properly informing users. This violates Spanish data laws which state that companies must seek permission for each individual service, meaning that data collected with YouTube should not be automatically shared with Google Plus.

Not The Only One

Spain is only one of the many E.U. nations to initiate a lawsuit or investigation into Google's business practices. With a much larger E.U. lawsuit still looming over Google after the courts decided not to accept Google's concessions, these data violation fines are making it very diffiult for Google to operate anywhere in the E.U.

There are five other European countries currently investigating the search giant's use of user data and some of those investigations may also bring about fines of $1 million or more.

When you take into consideration how large Google actually is, the million dollar fines are not what the company has to worry about in the long run. Instead, Google will be forced to change its business practices inside of these countries and that could cost the company, which relies on user data, far more than the fines themselves.

E.U. vs Google

With numerous nations now placing fines on Google and calling for changes in its policies, the overarching E.U. antitrust lawsuit is not in the forefront of people's minds. However, for Google, the E.U.'s multi-year investigation and lawsuit in response Google's market dominance is concerning to the search giant.

Analysts and industry experts have repeatedly pointed out that the E.U.'s antitrust lawsuit is something that should not be progressing and moving in its current direction. But that has not changed the E.U.'s decision to move forward instead of accepting Google's proposal to change its business practices and give other search engines and companies a fair shot in the market.

Unfortunately for Google, the E.U. Commission in charge of this case has continuously deferred to Google's competitors, asking for their input and refusing any proposal that does not fit their agenda. As a result, this case is not going to end anytime soon as Google's competitors are not going to accept or support a proposal unless it practically hands over market share.

Google's concessions would have allowed companies to have their services rank higher in results and would have allowed other search engines to be more successful. But the E.U. has refused to accept this plan, which means that Google, the E.U., and the E.U. member nations will be fighting against each other for quite a while.
 

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Posted: 2013-12-23 @ 2:27pm PT
Privacy advocates should consider checking out DuckDuckGo, Ravetree, and HushMail.



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