Google fined $57M under GDPR

New European standards go harder on data collectors to protect user privacy.

The Commissione nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) is an independent French committee dedicated to upholding its country’s commitment to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new standard of EU consumer privacy protection which went into effect last year. The new regulations call for more transparency from data collectors in terms of how they use the data they collect, as well as clear consent from users, allowing their data to be used in such a way. The CNIL fined Google in French courts earlier today to pay 50 million euros ($57M) for not properly sharing information on how it collects user data.

The GDPR standards are more strict than the previous set, and for the most part, triggered a thick forest of new digital consent forms a user must click before trying a new service, website, or app. But while the new rules caused some companies to adjust how they do business, and others to change how they communicate with customers, the titans of the internet — companies like Google — did not make too many changes, and some experts were wondering when and how the new GDPR rules would hit them.

Google is only the fourth company to be dinged with a fine for GDPR transgression, and the amount itself, while in the millions, is nowhere near the expense it could have been – up to 4% of global revenue, which in the case of Google would come to $4 billion. Experts view the fine as incidental, and the main meat of the matter the fact that Google and the other large internet companies will be held to the same user privacy standards as everyone else.

A spokesperson for Google says the company is discussing internally whether or not they will file for an appeal. It remains to be seen how Google will change their privacy policies, but some US internet watchdogs are following the success and/or failure of the GDPR with special interest, as there is talk of a US equivalent to the GDPR someday.

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