Google may be be fined as much as 15 million euros ($18.7 million) if it fails to meet an end-February 2015 deadline to comply with Dutch demands. These include asking users for their “unambiguous consent” and that they are given “clear and consistent information” about the way personal information is being used, the Netherlands authority said in an e-mailed statement today.
“Google catches us in an invisible web of our personal data without telling us and without asking us for our consent,” Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of the Dutch privacy watchdog, said in the statement. “This has been ongoing since 2012 and we hope our patience will no longer be tested.”
The fine threat follows a 900,000 euro-penalty from Spain’s data watchdog last year and another 150,000 euros Google was asked to pay in January by the French regulator for breaching local privacy rules with its new policy. The penalties are part of several European investigations started after the Mountain View, California-based company made changes to harmonize privacy policies for more than 60 products in 2012.
Google has sent a letter to the six national regulators to announce “a large number of measures to comply with European privacy laws,” according to the Dutch authority’s statement. The watchdog said it “has not yet established whether the proposed measures will end all the violations found by the Dutch DPA.”