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.


‘I spy with my little eye’: CIA launches Instagram account

Updated 26 April 2019
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‘I spy with my little eye’: CIA launches Instagram account

  • The spy agency has been openly recruiting from universities and industry

WASHINGTON: The Central Intelligence Agency opened its own account on Instagram Thursday with a picture of a desk of mysteries teased by the children’s game prompt “I spy with my little eye.”
The photo tempts with intrigues and adventure: a wig suggesting disguises, maps of China and the Gulf, foreign banknotes, a burn bag for getting rid of secret documents, a notebook with Arabic, and other items — mostly real operation souvenirs of CIA officers.
Next to a wall is a photo with the words: “I want to travel the world.”
The Instagram posting was an expansion of the premier US spy agency’s effort to recruit a younger generation of officers, agents and analysts, having already been on Twitter and Facebook for years.
The agency has been openly recruiting from universities and industry, and Instagram gives it a way to reach a large, younger demographic: most of its regular users are under 30.
“We’re looking to spark the curiosity of Instagram’s users about the many ways CIA’s global mission has us going where others cannot go and doing what others cannot do,” the agency said in a statement.
“Through the account, we’ll give a peek into agency life, but we can’t promise any selfies from secret locations.”