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France fines Google nearly $57 million for first major violation of new European privacy regime

The Google logo at the Dmexco digital marketing conference in Cologne, Germany. (Krisztian Bocsi / Bloomberg)
The Google logo at the Dmexco digital marketing conference in Cologne, Germany. (Krisztian Bocsi / Bloomberg)
By Tony Romm Washington Post

Google has been fined nearly $57 million by French regulators for violating Europe’s tough new data-privacy rules, marking the first major penalty brought against a U.S. tech giant since the region-wide regulations took effect last year.

France’s top data-privacy agency, known as the CNIL, said Monday that Google failed to fully disclose to users how their personal information is collected and what happens to it. Google also did not properly obtain users’ consent for the purpose of showing them personalized ads, the watchdog agency said.

Together, French regulators said Google’s business practices had run afoul of the General Data Protection Regulation. Implemented in 2018, the sweeping new privacy rules have set a global standard that has forced Google and its tech peers in Silicon Valley to rethink their data-collection practices or risk sky-high fines.

Despite Google’s changes, the CNIL said in a statement that “the infringements observed deprive the users of essential guarantees regarding processing operations that can reveal important parts of their private life since they are based on a huge amount of data, a wide variety of services and almost unlimited possible combinations.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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