* Watchdog says Google not informing users how data are used
* Google says considering further action.
* Watchdog's record fine is small vs Google profit
PARIS, Jan 8 France's data protection watchdog
has fined Google 150,000 euros after the U.S. search
engine ignored a three-month ultimatum to bring its practices on
tracking and storing user information in line with local law.
The privacy watchdog, known as CNIL, has also ordered Google
to post the decision on its google.fr homepage for 48 hours
within eight days of being officially notified of the ruling.
At issue was the new approach to user data that Google
began in March 2012, in which it consolidated its 60 privacy
policies into one and started combining data collected on
individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail
and social network Google+.
It gave users no means to opt out.
"The company does not sufficiently inform its users of the
conditions in which their personal data are processed, nor of
the purposes of this processing," CNIL said in a statement.
A Google France spokesman told Reuters the company will take
note of this decision and consider further action.
"Throughout our talks with CNIL, we have explained our
efficient services," he said.
Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have also
opened similar cases against Google because the U.S.-based web
local rules protecting consumers on how their personal data is
processed and stored.
CNIL said the fine is the highest it has issued until now
and is justified by the number and the seriousness of the
breaches stated in the case.
But the penalties that France and most other EU countries
can impose remain small compared with the $10.7 billion net
profit that Google earned in 2012.
Spain can impose fines of up to 1 million euros, while the
German Data Protection Act caps penalties at 300,000 euros.
There is no legal framework to levy European-wide fines.
In June, CNIL found Google to be in breach of privacy law on
six counts, notably that it posted "insufficient" information
for French users about how their private browsing data was
collected and used.