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Google appeals $57M GDPR fine, defends privacy practices

The search giant is contesting the penalty, which is the largest to be issued so far under Europe's new privacy law.

EU and Technology

Google's struggles in Europe continue.

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Google will appeal a fine imposed by the French government over European privacy rules, the company said Thursday.

France's privacy regulator said earlier this week that it's fining the internet giant 50 million euros (about $57 million) for not properly disclosing to people how their data was collected and passed to advertisers. The fine was imposed under the General Data Protection Regulation, a sweeping new European Union internet privacy law that went into effect in May.

GDPR incorporates a bunch of different rules, but one section focuses on greater transparency for users about how their data is used and who it's shared with. GDPR also requires companies to make this information easy to find and understand in an effort to demystify the privacy agreements that users are often required to click on before they can use online services.

It's these rules in particular that the French regulator found Google guilty of breaking, but the company is contesting the decision.

"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," said a Google spokesman 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. For all these reasons, we've now decided to appeal."

Google is no stranger to fines under EU laws. It's currently awaiting the outcome of yet another antitrust investigation -- after already being slapped with a $5 billion fine last year for anticompetitive Android practices and a $2.7 billion fine in 2017 over Google Shopping. The latest fine might be a fraction of those penalties, but is currently the largest fine issued so far for GDPR violations.

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