All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis


EU admits Google fines are 'pocket money', urges data protection reforms

20 Jan 2014
european-commission2-0909

Europe needs a much harsher regime to fine businesses that breach data protection laws, as recent penalties handed out to Google are nothing more than “pocket money” to the company.

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said plans to reform the data protection laws in Europe must be pushed through, otherwise firms will continue to ride roughshod over the laws as they exist.

She noted that while both French and Spanish authorities have fined Google, the amounts represent a tiny fraction of the company’s income.

“Taking Google's 2012 performance figures, the fine in France [€150,000] represents 0.0003 percent of its global turnover. Pocket money,” she said.

“Is it surprising to anyone that two whole years after the case emerged, it is still unclear whether Google will amend its privacy policy or not? People need to see that their rights are enforced in a meaningful way. If a company has broken the rules and failed to mend its ways, this should have serious consequences.”

Reding said under the new proposals Google would have faced a far harsher penalty that would make it think twice before ignoring data protection laws.

“Europeans need to get serious. And that is why our reform introduces stiff sanctions that can reach as much as two percent of the global annual turnover of a company. In the Google case, that would have meant a fine of €731 million ($1bn). A sum much harder to brush off.”

Reding added, though, that a stronger regime for data protection would not just be a fear tactic to scare businesses into shape, but it would also help provide them with a competitive edge over rivals.

"Our reform will thus not only open the market to companies, it will also help them to conquer this market by helping to build citizens' confidence. And what is more, strong data protection rules will also give companies with serious privacy policies a competitive edge," she said.

Data protection reforms within the EU have been debated for some time, but an agreement between nations has yet to be reached. The UK is concerned that overly proscriptive laws could damage the economy.

Proposals were meant to be in place by 2015 but that date might slip back if member states cannot agree.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Dan Worth
About

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

View Dan's Google+ profile

More on Law
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus
Poll

BYOD vs CYOD vs BYOC poll

Which approach is your firm taking to managing employees' mobile devices?
23%
14%
4%
17%
30%
12%

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5S vs Nexus 5 showdown

Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5S vs Nexus 5

We speed test three of the most popular smartphones

Updating your subscription status Loading
Newsletters

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button
hpv33

Data protection: the key challenges

Deduplication is a foundational technology for efficient backup and recovery

rdc2

iPad makes its mark in the enterprise

The iPad can become a supercharged unified communications endpoint, allowing users to enhance their productivity

Digital Project Manager - Creative Technology House

Digital Project Manager - Creative Technology House Henley...

SQL Database Adminstrator (DBA) SQL 2012, SSIS, Windows 2012

SQL Database Adminstrator (DBA) SQL 2012, SSIS, Windows...

SharePoint Lead Developer - SharePoint 2013, C#, .Net

SharePoint Lead Developer – SharePoint 2013, C#, .Net...

Infrastructure Analyst - Storage, SAN, EMC, VMWare, Exchange

Infrastructure Analyst - Storage, SAN, EMC, VMWare, Exchange...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.