Spain has a privacy watchdog and it has moved to slap global search engine giant with a 1.2 million dollar fine. The offense? Breaking Spain’s data protection laws. Moreover, the watchdog says that Google seriously infringed on Spanish citizens rights.
The Spanish privacy protection watchdog is called the data protection agency. This agency has found Google liable for three separate violations where Google collected Spanish users information. What are the charges? Collecting information on Spanish users and sharing that data across Google services. This sharing is used for Google search engine, Google Drive. And also, Google was charged for not telling people of its collection practices. Each violation is enough to get Google fined 300,000 Euros or in today’s exchange rate, around 400,000 bucks. The big problem here, according to Spanish data watchdog, Google doesn’t clue users enough regarding the information and the type of information it collects. Also, it doesn’t tell people, according to the charging agency, regarding the purpose for that collected data. And finally, Google is an offender because it keeps that data for an amount of time that isn’t defined. All told, the spanish agency deems Google’s actions as illegal. Also, it claims that Google is hiding behind a “vague wording” in its terms of service to excuse its behavior. If you are an executive at Google, this is hardly news. After all, Google has been slapped with so many violations in the past that its pretty much immune to it. Regardless, Google should pay attention because European countries are dramatically tightening their privacy rules. You have to be very exact.
While this 1.2 million fine can kill a small start up company, this hardly qualifies as a pin prick to Google. why? Google generates billions of dollars every single quarter, not every year, every quarter. Still, Google should pay attention or else these violations can not only result in more fines which can add up to a pretty penny, but also result in serious public relations disasters.