Google accumulates a heap of data about its users. Device information, search history, location information, and email content of Gmail users are just the known types of data collected by Google (and then picked up by the NSA).
According to Reuters, Italy has given Google an ultimatum in regard to how it collects and stores data. Concluding a months-long European joint inquiry into data collection and storage, Italy’s data protection regulator has told Google it has 18 months to comply with a list of measures including obtaining consent to use data to profile users and disclosing that profiling is being done for commercial purposes. Also, Google account users’ requests to delete personal data stored by Google would have to be fulfilled within two months.
This is yet another development that restricts the way Google handles personal data in Europe. In May, a European court told Google that it was responsible for the processing of third party data that appears on its search engine. Google was told that it is obliged to delete posts about an individual at the individual’s request if a search for the individual’s name returns a link that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.”
Reuters reports that, according to a source close to Google, failure to comply with the Italian ultimatum would only cost the company 1 million euros, which is but chicken feed to the multibillion-dollar company. Criminal proceedings would also be possible though, giving teeth to the ultimatum.
Being in trouble with data protection regulations is nothing new for Google—French and Spanish regulators have already fined Google for breaking local data protection laws, and the Netherlands and Britain both have ongoing disputes with Google’s data collections.