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France Threatens to Fine Google a Pittance Over Privacy

France’s data protection watchdog, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes, says it will fine Google if the company doesn’t rewrite its privacy policy within the next three months.

The CNIL will fine Google up to 150,000 euros, or about US$200,000, and double that if it fails to act. In particular, the CNIL wants Google to give users “defined and explicit purposes” for gathering data and “definite retention periods” for how long it stores data.

The threats are part of Europe-wide scrutiny being cast upon Google. Spain has begun “sanction procedures,” while the UK, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands are also mulling legal action. In addition to these countries’ complaints, Google is also taking antitrust flak from the European Commission, which was not satisfied with concessions Google offered in April.

France has been particular testy with Google. The nation also threatened legislation that would force Google to pay for displaying links to French news articles, while a French ISP tried to block ads on YouTube.

[Source: The Guardian]

Google Wants to Publish Data Collecting Info

Google filed a motion with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court requesting permission to publish data on national security requests authorized by the court.

Google’s motion says the company’s “reputation and business has been harmed” by false and misleading reports suggesting that Google has divulged loads of information to U.S. authorities.

The link between Google and data collection could be particularly damning in Europe, where people are generally more wary about privacy and generally less tolerant of Google’s data collection (see above).

Yahoo, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have all published data about national security requests, but Google has resisted, saying such reports are not transparent enough.

[Source: The New York Times]

India Launches Surveillance Program

Speaking of government surveillance …

India launched an extensive program that will give national authorities — from security agencies to tax officials — the ability to tap into phone calls and emails. If that weren’t far-reaching enough, the surveillance will not require oversight from courts or parliament.

The plan, which has predictably riled privacy advocates, will be able to target India’s 900 million landlines and 120 million Internet users.

India made the most user data requests in the world behind the U.S., according to Google Transparency Reports in 2012.

[Source: Reuters]

Pirate Bay Cofounder Sentenced

Gottfrid Svartholm, the 28-year-old cofounder of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, was sentenced to two years in prison.

The two-year sentence is not for The Pirate Bay’s gratuitous copyright infringement, but for hacking into Logica, a Swedish IT company that did work for local tax authorities. Svartholm, who was found guilty of hacking, aggravated fraud and attempted aggravated fraud, was already serving a jail sentence for copyright infringement.

He could be in for more trouble: Danish authorities plan to charge him for hacking an IT company that did work for the Danish government.

[Source: TorrentFreak]

Dotcom Decries Data Deletion

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom bemoaned a Dutch hosting firm’s decision to delete a large amount of data from Megaupload.

Calling it the “largest data massacre in the history of the Internet,” Dotcom says that million of users lost data.

Dotcom, currently in New Zealand, faces extradition to the U.S., where he is wanted on copyright charges.

[Source: BBC]

Huawei: No Plans to Buy Nokia

Chinese network equipment maker Huawei has shot down a Financial Times report that said it was considering an acquisition of Finish phone maker Nokia.

Huawei’s head of consumer business was quoted by FT as saying the company was “considering these sorts of acquisitions” and that it “depends on the willingness of Nokia.”

However, Huawei’s VP for external affairs, Bill Plummer, was rather unequivocal, saying the company had “no plans to acquire Nokia.”

[Source: Reuters]

David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author ofThe Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out hisECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

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