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Thursday, December 19, 2013
Spain Privacy Watchdog Fines Google

Spain's privacy watchdog on Thursday fined Google for breaking the country's data protection law when combining personal information from its online services and failing to inform users clearly on how it uses their data.

Google has to pay a 900,000 euro ($1.23 million) fine. The amout is very small for a company like Google, which has a market capitalisation of over $350 billion. However, it reflects growing concerns across Europe about the volume of personal data that is held in cloud storage services.

The Spanish agency said users were not sufficiently informed that Google filtered the content of their emails and files to display advertising and, when it did it, used a terminology that was unclear and with generic expressions. It also said the company was breaking the law by using data it gathered for purposes that are unspecified and keeping this information for an indefinite time.

Google said it had engaged with the Spanish authorities to explain its privacy policy and would decide on which action to take once it had the opportunity to fully read its report.

Last month, the Dutch Data Protection Authority also said Google was in breach of the national data privacy law for the same practices while France moved closer to fining the U.S. internet giant in September.

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