Google will appeal a $57 million fine from French regulators for violating the European Union’s sweeping new privacy law, the internet search giant said on Wednesday.
The French privacy watchdog known as CNIL said that Google violated the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by not adequately informing users about its data collection practices or offering valid consent options. Google said it disagreed with the assessment.
“We’ve worked hard to create a GDPR consent process for personalised ads that is as transparent and straightforward as possible, based on regulatory guidance and user experience testing,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re also concerned about the impact of this ruling on publishers, original content creators and tech companies in Europe and beyond.”
The GDPR went into effect in May and was hailed by many privacy activists as the new standard for protecting user data. But proponents criticized tech companies for doing as little as possible to comply with the letter of the law while disregarding its aims of offering users greater control over their own data and better insight into how it’s being used.
The CNIL’s fine on Monday was the first example of Europe’s enforcers using the new regulations to go after a large U.S. tech company.
And while the fine was relatively small compared with both Google’s bottom line and the maximum possible penalty — potentially 4 percent of a company’s annual global revenue — privacy activists applauded the move because it ruled that some of Google’s business model is illegal.