French watchdog slaps Google with $57 million fine under new EU law

In this file photo taken on September 2, 2015 The Google logo is displayed at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019
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French watchdog slaps Google with $57 million fine under new EU law

  • Users have to take too many steps, “sometimes up to 5 or 6 actions,” to find out how and why their data is being used, the commission said

PARIS: France’s data privacy watchdog fined Google 50 million euros ($57 million) on Monday, the first penalty for a US tech giant under new European data privacy rules that took effect last year.
The National Data Protection Commission said it fined the US Internet giant for “lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent” regarding ad personalization for users.
It’s one of the biggest regulatory enforcement actions since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, came into force in May. The rules are aimed at clarifying individual rights to personal data collected by companies, which are required to use plain language to explain what they’re doing with it.
Even though many tech multinationals like Google are headquartered in the US, they still have to comply with the new rules because they have millions of users in Europe.
The commission said Google users were “not sufficiently informed” about what they were agreeing to as the company collected data for targeted advertisements.
Users have to take too many steps, “sometimes up to 5 or 6 actions,” to find out how and why their data is being used, the commission said. Google’s description of why it’s processing their data is “described in a too generic and vague manner,” it added.
The company’s infringements “deprive the users of essential guarantees regarding processing operations that can reveal important parts of their private life,” the commission said .
The commission acted on complaints by two data protection advocacy groups, NOYB.EU and La Quadrature du Net, filed immediately after GDPR took effect.
Google said in a statement it is “deeply committed” to transparency and user control as well as GDPR consent requirements.
“We’re studying the decision to determine our next steps,” it said.


Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

Updated 16 February 2019
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Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

  • New office will be hub for Asian operation of paper and builds on relationship with community and its digital generation
  • Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition www.arabnews.pk in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has officially inaugurated Arab News Pakistan bureau in the country’s capital.

Chaudhry was the chief guest at the occasion and several prominent Pakistani media personalities and Arab News staff also attended the launch ceremony.

Standing side by side with Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas, who is in Pakistan as part of the media delegation accompanying the royal visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Arab News Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani, Chaudhry cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the office.

“I am very happy for two reasons: The perception was building that the newspapers were not coming (to Pakistan), so once an international publication like Arab News (has come here) it certainly gives us a huge boost.”

Chaudhry described how the relationship between the nations was becoming stronger, particularly with the growth of Pakistan’s voice in the Middle East.

‘Secondly, I think this is an era where Pakistan is playing a very important role in the Middle East and to have such a major Middle Eastern publication coming to Pakistan itself shows the kind of importance Pakistan has of the Middle East and vice versa, we are very happy to have you here.’

Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas thanked the Pakistani information minister for his presence at the inauguration and for the efforts of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to help facilitate the newspaper’s operations in Islamabad. 

“The inauguration of our Islamabad bureau a year after the launch of our local digital edition is an indicator of our commitment to Pakistan and our determination to help create a better understanding of Saudi Arabia and the region,” said Abbas. 

“Ever since its establishment in 1975, Arab News has had a special relationship with the massive and incredibly loyal Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia. Today we inaugurate this bureau in Islamabad to ensure a continued connection with the community and establish a relationship with a new more digital and highly connected generation,” he added. 

Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani said that the new office would be a hub not only for the Arab News Pakistan edition but also for the entire Asian operation of the paper. “We currently have reporters across Pakistan as well as nine other Asian countries and with the help, hard work and dedication of our team at the Islamabad bureau we hope not only to better manage our operation but to grow further in Asia as well.” 

Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition www.arabnews.pk in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans. The project is the first of many new international editions planned by the Riyadh-based newspaper. 

Arab News is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG).