Today, Google was fined €50 million by the French privacy watchdog. The company was in violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. The way in which new Android devices were activated was problematic.

CNIL, the French privacy watchdog, states that Google did not comply with a number of GDPR rules regarding obtaining consent from consumers to collect their data. Also, it was not correctly communicated how Google would use the data. For that reason, the fine has now been given.

Too complicated

The first violation of the privacy watchdog lies in the fact that Google would have made it too complicated to find information about privacy during the installation of a device. According to the CNIL, important details, including information about the duration of Google’s data retention, were spread over an unreasonably large number of pages. Users had to perform five to six actions to see them. In addition, the option for users to refuse personal ads was hidden under a button with More options.

The CNIL also found that certain words in the setup were incorrect. For example, the section on personalized advertising did not indicate that users’ choices would affect not only Android, but also other Google services such as Gmail and Maps.

Not specific enough

There is also a problem with the way in which the company requests permission from users to collect data. Those words are not specific enough either. The user gives his or her consent for all processing purposes carried out by Google on the basis of this consent (personalized ads, speech recognition, etc.), according to the CNIL. However, the GDPR states that consent can only be regarded as specific if consent has been given for all the different purposes.

The decision will follow one year after the investigation has started. Google is struggling in the European Union, because last year also received a fine of five billion dollars for the way it deals with competition from Android.

In a statement, the company states that people expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We are very committed to meeting those expectations and the requirements of GDPR. We’re studying the decision to determine our next steps.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.