Google risks $18m fine for web privacy violation Dutch watchdog says

Google could be $18.6m poorer in fines if web privacy violations of Dutch users won’t come to a halt, the country’s data protection agency announced.   

According to the Data Protection Authority (DPA) in Netherlands, a penalty payment was imposed on Google for breaching the country’s data protection act by using people’s private information to target them with customised ads.

"Google catches us in an invisible web of our personal data without telling us and without asking us for our consent. This has been ongoing since 2012 and we hope our patience will no longer be tested," said Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the DPA in a statement.

The US company has been given until the end of February to take measures in order to tackle the breaches of the Dutch data protection act. The DPA’s demands included unambiguous consent from users when combining personal data from multiple Google sources, clarity on how personal data will be used and stipulation that YouTube is part of Google.   

Customarily, Google aggregates data from search engine queries, emails, 'cookies', location data and video browsing to push tailored advertising.

“This combining occurs without Google adequately informing the users in advance and without the company asking for consent. This is in breach of the law,” added Kohnstamm.

Google introduced its new privacy guidelines in 2012, which have been under investigation in France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain.

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