Google has become the first tech company to be fined for infringing data privacy laws.
The search engine giant will be fined under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR.
France’s National Data Protection Commission which is tasked with enforcing these laws announced that it was imposing a fine of 50 million euros, roughly around USD$57 million.
The reason being that Google had not been clear enough about the data it collected from users and hadn’t gained their consent to use that data for targeted ads.
Google’s practices apparently ran afoul of the GDPR requirements, which call for tech companies to be clear about what data they are collecting and how it’s used.
The law was implemented in May last year in an effort to standardize privacy practices for tech companies that operate across the continent.
“People expect high standards of transparency and control from us,” said a representative from Google.
“We’re deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR. We’re studying the decision to determine our next steps.”
Despite the sizeable amount, it will barely leave a dent in the Google coffers, Google’s parent company Alphabet reported nearly USD$34 billion in revenue last quarter alone.
More importantly, though, it shows that European regulators are taking a firm stand against tech companies that aren’t GDPR compliant and therefore companies like Facebook, Twitter and Apple should be on the look out.
As part of its efforts in being more vigilant about complying with regulations in general, Facebook hired former British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg late last year to lead all policy and communications at the company.