Google fine in the offing as Dutch set ultimatum

16 Dec 2014

Google’s European troubles continue as the Dutch Privacy Authority demands a change to its privacy policy.

“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 Dutch DPA.

This all stems from a 2013 investigation by Dutch authorities, which found that Google broke state laws by sharing personal data across its suite of services. Basically, information from its search engine was used along with data acquired through location services, etc.

The change in policy made by Google in early 2012 has sprouted a number of data protection cases in Europe. At the start of this year France fined the company €150,000, while Spain – often the harshest punishers in this field – fined Google nearly €1m a month before.

According to, Google recently sent a letter authorities in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands announcing a number of measures to comply with EU privacy laws. The Dutch DPA “has not yet established whether the proposed measures will end all the violations,” it said.

“We’re disappointed with the Dutch DPA’s order, especially as we have already made a number of changes to our privacy policy in response to their concerns,” a Google spokesman said, adding that Google will soon discuss the proposals with the European DPAs.

Using Google search on a smartphone image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic