According to a Reuters report filed on Monday, Google could be facing an $18 million fine. According to the report, Google “could be fined up 15 million euros ($18.6 million) if it does not stop violating the privacy of Internet users in the Netherlands, the Dutch data protection agency said on Monday.”1 The Data Protection Authority – an information protection agency in the Netherlands – charges that Google’s use of tracking and handling of user data is illegal:
The U.S. company [Google] is breaching the country’s data protection act by using people’s private information such as browsing history and location data to target them with customized ads…The company’s handling of user data under its new privacy guidelines, introduced in 2012, has also been under investigation in five other European countries – France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain.2
This is just the latest in a long line of privacy lawsuits against Google. This is really little more than a token gesture, as $18 million hardly constitutes a drop in the bucket for the Mountain View company. Still, it is at least encouraging to see the Dutch, and others, take on the very real privacy concerns raised by Google’s practices.
- Anthony Deutsch, ed. Pravin Char, Reuters, “Google faces $18 million fine for web privacy violations: Dutch watchdog,” 15 December 2014 ▲
- Ibid ▲