Alphabet Inc.’s Google was hit with a $57 million fine Monday (Jan. 21) by a French regulator, in what the Wall Street Journal reported is the largest penalty under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy law.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, France’s National Data Protection Commission fined Google, saying it didn’t do enough to get the consent of users when gathering data used for targeted advertising. It’s also one of the highest-profile regulator actions coming from GDPR which went into effect last year. Under the law, companies have to follow strict rules when it comes to protecting consumers’ data and privacy in Europe. One of the rules requires the companies to explain how data is being collected and used and seek the consent of the consumer to collect the data. While the fine won’t have a large impact on Google, it is the biggest penalty to be dealt to the firm by any of the European regulators that have authority to use GDPR to go after companies they don’t think are doing enough to protect the data or privacy of consumers.
“People expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We’re deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR. We’re studying the decision to determine our next steps,” a Google spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
The paper noted that the fine is probably the start of more to come as regulators step up enforcement under GDPR. They could also try to test the bounds of the new legislation, reported the Wall Street Journal. The French regulator’s ruling is centered on how Google made information available to consumers about the need for their consent to use data. The French National Data Protection Commission said Google ran afoul of rules requiring information about how it collects data to be transparent. Things such as data processing and data storage times weren’t available in the same place, requiring in some instances consumers to click five or six times to find it. The regulator also said Google didn’t get the necessary user consent for personalized ads.