Google Could Face Fines by France over Privacy

France isn't dropping its privacy beef with Google. French officials on Friday took another step closer to fining the search engine giant, deciding for the moment to impose sanctions on the company for failing to change its privacy policy.

France's CNIL (La Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes) declared it would start "a formal procedure for imposing sanctions, according to the provisions laid down in the French data protection law."

France's moves come in the wake of the European Union's Article 29 Working Party investigation into the company's privacy policies. From March to October of 2012, the group reviewed whether or not Google was meeting the requirements of the EU's Data Protection Directive.

France: Google Didn't Cooperate

"On 19 March 2013, representatives of Google Inc. were invited at their request to meet with the task force led by the CNIL and composed of data protection authorities of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United-Kingdom. Following this meeting, no change has been seen," CNIL said in a statement.

After finding Google did not comply with the requirements, regulators gave the company four months to make changes necessary to comply. Google contested the French request for data the day before the deadline, "notably the applicability of the French data protection law to the services used by residents in France," according to CINL.

Each nation is now carrying out further investigations according to the provisions of its national law implementing the European regulations. All authorities in the task force launched actions in April. But France is the most aggressive.

Google Says It's Engaged

Google could not immediately be reached for comment. But Al Verney, a Brussels-based spokesman for Google, told Bloomberg, "Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services. We've engaged fully with CNIL throughout this process and will continue...

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