03 April 2013


France's Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) - the national data protection watchdog - has announced  that the French, UK, German, Netherlands, Spanish and Italian privacy regulators will take joint action over Google's refusal to change the search giant's privacy policy.

Last year I noted expressions of unhappiness by those regulators, including disquiet about Google's disregard of requested policy changes. This week's announcement indicates that "the EU Data protection authorities asked Google to comply with their recommendations within four months" but "After this period has expired, Google has not implemented any significant compliance measures".

Google is reported as commenting that
Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We have engaged fully with the data protection authorities involved throughout this process, and we'll continue to do so going forward.
The agencies obviously have a very different view of full engagement and of the forward direction.

National legislation across the EU provides for financial penalties that Google would consider to be trivial. Those penalties however signal official unhappiness and potentially action by the EU governments to crimp Google's operation within the region.