Tomahawk, WI 01/09/2014 (BasicsMedia) – Global Internet search engine giant Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been penalized to the tune of around $2.04 million pertaining to infringement of French privacy and personal data guidelines laid out by France’s National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL), the national apex body overseeing civil liberty and privacy regulations. While this is significantly less than the $4.07 million which the French authorities had in mind in September, Google had avoided a confrontation with the French authorities on the issue, stating that it always observed government norms in its data collection processes online.

The history of Google’s European privacy violations

The cited non-compliance in privacy guidelines by Google in Europe stem from a very old bone of contention, emanating from various public concerns since the latter half of 2012 that Google was in indomitable control of its Internet users’ preferences and interests. While Google has clarified and maintained that it collects user data only to enhance and standardize its services to its customers, critics feel Google offers no alternative for Internet users using Google services but to compromise their personalized information to the search giant, excepting that they could refrain from using Google’s services altogether. Naturally concerned over the matter, privacy regulators of six European – Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands ordered Google to comply with the European Union privacy norms in unison. The French penalty imposed on Google comes close on the heels of its European neighbor Spain imposing fines amounting to over $1.22 million over three counts of similar user privacy violations.

Google’s tryst with antitrust in EU

This isn’t the first time Google has seen prosecution from the European Union or its Commission. Google has also been accused of antitrust in the past in the EU jurisdiction, with investigations on by the European Commission’s antitrust regulator over allegations that Google significantly blocked its competitors in all search results. Though Google tried to avert fines amounting to the tune of $5 billion, the European Commission will weigh feedback from various Google competitors as also third parties before giving its verdict around the middle of 2014.

These fines probably wouldn’t have a major impact on the financial disposition of the highly profitable Google, which remains one of the most admired technology companies in the world. The Internet giant still maintains that it is committed to improving its user interfaces and customer experience, and emphasizes that the data collected is used solely for such purposes and to strategically position its product line based on customer interests, choices and preferences.

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