Last October, CNIL and its counterparts in Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy gave Google four months to bring its practices into line with the relevant European Union directives.
The regulators asked Google to provide search-engine users with clear, complete information about the nature of the personal data collected, how long the data is retained and for what purposes. As Google failed to make any changes following a March 19 meeting between company executives and the regulators, the six national agencies will undertake legal action in accord with the respective laws in each country, CNIL said Tuesday.
Troubles continue in Europe for Google
While even successful court cases would lead only to comparatively modest fines, the controversy may harm Google's standing with the public and constrict its ability to collect data.
Google moved last year to consolidate 60 separate privacy policies in use around the world into a single, universal procedure, citing the need for simplicity. CNIL and like-minded European regulators fault the new policy for a lack of transparency and for failing to give users control over the use of their data.
Last month, nearly a dozen companies with grievances against Google urged EU antitrust regulators to bring charges against the world's No.1 search engine of anti-competitive practices instead of pursuing settlement talks. The European Commission has since been examining proposals put forward by Google aimed at averting a possible fine that could reach $5 billion or 10 percent of the company's 2012 revenues.
EU regulators said Google may have violated antitrust rules by favouring its own services over those of rivals, copying travel and restaurant reviews from competing sites without their permission, and placing restrictions on advertisers using its services.
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