Google to Fight $57 Million French Privacy Fine (1)

Jan. 23, 2019, 7:39 PMUpdated: Jan. 23, 2019, 9:50 PM

Alphabet Inc.'s Google will appeal a 50 million euro ($56.7 million) fine from the French privacy watchdog, a company spokesperson confirmed to Bloomberg Law.

France’s privacy office, the CNIL, imposed a fine on the company Jan. 21 for alleged violations of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. CNIL said that Google didn’t follow “essential principles” of the GDPR, including “transparency, information and consent.”

Google’s appeal is the second major appeal of an EU privacy action in recent months and further shows U.S. tech companies aren’t necessarily willing to accept fines without fighting back.

“We’ve worked hard to create a GDPR consent process for personalised ads that is as transparent and straightforward as possible, based on regulatory guidance and user experience testing,” the search giant’s spokesperson said in an email. “We’re also concerned about the impact of this ruling on publishers, original content creators and tech companies in Europe and beyond. For all these reasons, we’ve now decided to appeal.”

More Appeals?

The fine is likely a sign of things to come for other tech companies under EU privacy investigations. Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. are both facing privacy probes in Ireland for their alleged broad non-compliance with the GDPR.

Facebook appealed the UK privacy office’s maximum 500,000 pound fine for its role in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. That appeal is ongoing.

AFP earlier reported the company’s decision to appeal.

The CNIL didn’t immediately respond to a Bloomberg Law request for comment.

(Updated with additional reporting throughout)

To contact the reporters on this story: Sara Merken in Washington at smerken@bloomberglaw.com; Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at dstoller@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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