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European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia addresses the media, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. The European Union's antitrust watchdog says Google is offering new and far-reaching concessions to address allegations it is abusing its dominant position in Internet searches. (Yves Logghe/AP)
European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia addresses the media, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. The European Union's antitrust watchdog says Google is offering new and far-reaching concessions to address allegations it is abusing its dominant position in Internet searches. (Yves Logghe/AP)

French court orders Google to display fine for privacy breach Add to ...

Google Inc. will have to display on its French search page a notice saying it has been fined by the local data-protection watchdog over how user information is tracked and stored, France’s top administrative court ruled on Friday.

The U.S. search engine said it would comply with the order but would keep fighting the $200,000 fine issued last month by privacy watchdog CNIL.

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CNIL has objected to Google’s method of combining data collected on individual users across services such as YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. The move toward broad storage was introduced by Google in March, 2012, and combined 60 privacy policies into one, giving users no means to opt out.

The Web giant appealed the CNIL’s fine last month as well as the order to post a notice of the sanction on its google.fr homepage for 48 hours. Google specifically asked the Conseil d’Etat, France’s top administrative court, to suspend that order while it re-examines the case.

On Friday, the Conseil d’Etat ruled that there was not enough urgency nor proof of damage to Google’s reputation to warrant such a suspension. This means Google will have to post the CNIL’s decision on its French homepage even while it keeps fighting it in court.

“We’ve engaged fully with the CNIL throughout this process to explain our privacy policy and how it allows us to create simpler, more effective services,” a Google spokesman said in an e-mailed statement.

“We will comply with the order to post the notice, but we’ll also continue with our appeal before the Conseil d’Etat.”

Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have also opened similar cases against Google, arguing that its privacy policy breached local rules protecting consumers on how their personal data is processed and stored.

 
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