Spain, U.K., Launch Privacy Accusations At Google: Updated

Spain’s Data Protection Agency said there was evidence that Google was guilty of disproportionate use and storing private data for excessive periods, among other charges. Google insists it has not broken EU laws.


Spain is the latest country to fire a broadside at Google, announcing yesterday its plan to launch proceedings against the Internet giant for what it sees as cavalier behavior with users’ data. Spain joins its neighbor, France, which yesterday gave Google three months to comply with its demands or seek sanctions.


Update: Britain is the latest country to tell Google that up with this it will not put (up with). The Information Commissioner’s Office this morning slapped an enforcement notice on the firm for the collection of payload data by Google’s Street View cars in the U.K.

ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley said in a statement that the firm had 35 days to delete the data; failure to do so would be seen as contempt of court and a criminal offence.

The Spanish data protection agency listed five ways in which Google had breached the country’s laws–and not for the first time either:

  • Disproportionate use of private data.
  • Diverting private data for other users.
  • Storing private data for excessive or undetermined periods.
  • Failure to handle private data in a legitimate way.
  • Obstructing users in the exercise of their rights.

Each violation carries a fine of up to almost $400,000.

Google has denied the allegations, saying in a statement: “We have engaged fully with the authorities involved through this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward.”

Earlier this week, an open letter signed by 10 data protection chiefs from around the world was sent to Google CEO Larry Page, asking for some answers on the privacy issues regarding Google Glass.

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S