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Google Fined $1.2 Million by Spain’s Privacy Watchdog

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. was fined 900,000 euros ($1.2 million) by Spain’s data-protection watchdog for illegally collecting and using users’ personal data.

Google is guilty of “three serious violations” of Spanish data-privacy law for collecting personal information across nearly 100 services and products in Spain without in many cases giving details “about what data it collects, what it uses it for and without obtaining a valid consent,” the regulator said in a statement today.

Google was fined 300,000 euros for each of the three violations and ordered to take the “necessary measures without any delay to comply with the legal requirements,” said the authority.

The Mountain View, California-based company faces probes across Europe over changes to harmonize privacy policies for more than 60 products last year. Watchdogs from the 28-nation EU, that make up the so-called Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, wrote to Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page last year, saying the company empowers itself to collect vast amounts of personal data about Internet users without demonstrating that this collection was proportionate.

“We’ve engaged fully with the Spanish” authority “throughout this process to explain our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler, more effective services, and we’ll continue to do so,” Google said in an e-mailed statement. “We’ll be reading their report closely to determine next steps.”

Privacy Policy

European privacy regulators from France, Germany, the U.K., Spain, Italy and the Netherlands “coordinated” enforcement measures in April over the company’s failure to address complaints about its new privacy policy. The French agency led the probe on behalf of the EU group to review whether Google’s revisions to its policies violated the bloc’s rules.

The Dutch data protection regulator last month said Google is spinning “an invisible web” by illegally using people’s personal online data and that it may face penalties in the country. In the U.K., Google faces a formal enforcement action unless it changes its policy in line with national rules, the country’s watchdog said in July. Google also faces fines in France after failing to comply with the regulator’s demands.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Brussels at sbodoni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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