Google is once more having troubles in Europe because of the way it handles user data. This time around, the problems come from Germany, where Google is accused of violating user privacy.
Johannes Caspar, chief of the data protection office of Germany, says that the Internet search giant is violating German rules by compiling customers’ data without asking for their consent. The agency has plans to order Google to change things when it comes to the way it handles data.
“By compiling data from its different services under a single user ID, Google has access to an in-depth personal profile of its users,” Caspar told Bloomberg. “Google has to respect its users’ right of self-determination.”
Google has been arguing in favor of this practice, saying that it only helps the company develop offers that are simpler and more effective.
Proof of this is that you can search for a certain company on your computer and then have your phone display directions in Google Now even though you never expressed your intention to travel there or even search for directions in Google Maps.
Google has already been fined for this particular practice, but it happened in France. There, the National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) fined Google with €150,000 ($205,000) back in January. The French authority said that Google didn’t provide users with enough details about how it used their personal data.
While the American authorities have been a bit more lenient with Google over the company’s privacy practices, European nations have taken a more aggressive stance and slapped the Internet giant each chance they had.
Spain has fined Google with €900,000 ($1.23 million) for violating the local privacy laws, while in Italy, Google got in trouble because of its Street View cars that collected images without the people’s express acceptance. There, it was fined with €1 million ($1.37 million).
Other nations have also taken a similar stance in regard to Google and its various practices concerning user privacy. Even so, the fines are small compared to how much the company makes each day, which is why the European Union is seeking ways to make it possible to raise fines to as much as €100 million ($137 million) or 5 percent of yearly global sales.