Google risks huge fine under new EU data rules: top official

Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:06pm EST
 
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By Claire Davenport

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google's latest privacy policy could land it with a fine of upto $1 billion under a new law allowing Europe-wide challenges to U.S.-based Internet giants, Europe's top justice official said on Tuesday.

Viviane Reding, the European Union's commissioner for justice, said rules being finalized by the European parliament and EU countries would allow a single EU data regulator to fine companies on behalf of all national watchdogs.

"The one-stop-shop regulator could threaten a company which does not obey the rules with a fine of up to two percent of global turnover," Reding told journalists.

Asked what kind of offence would receive the full two percent fine Reding pointed to Google. "The test case (Google) is a clear one."

The overhaul of the existing EU data protection regime could come into effect next year and would allow for bigger single fines.

It would also require all countries to have fines. Some states do not now levy penalties.

Google's total revenue in 2012 amounted to $50 billion which would make a two percent fine $1 billion.

Under current European rules, only individual countries can levy fines against companies that violate data privacy laws. Fines range from 300,000 euros to 600,000 euros.   Continued...

 
The Google signage is seen at the company's headquarters in New York January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly