Google Pressed by French Internet Watchdog Over Privacy Matters

An independent administrative body of the French Govt. that serves the interests of its citizens takes on the search behemoth Google.

If you’re looking to get Google to delete your personal information from the internet to safeguard your privacy, prepare for an arduous process.

The CNIL [Commission Nationale de L’informatique et des Libertés – National Commission on Informatics and Liberty], a French Internet Watchdog received a total of 135,000 calls from the public last year. 2014 also witnessed a seven percent rice from the year before.

  • Out of this, 260 complaints were specifically related to the recent ‘right to be forgotten ruling’.
  • Another 11,000 or thereabouts were requests split between complaints and fears of a lack of data protection and requests for access of personal information held by public authorities.

The CNIL is an independent French administrative body tasked to ensure data privacy laws are applied to the collection, storage, accessing and usage of personal data. They make it clear that the French public is largely becoming concerned about privacy and nearly 70 percent of the French population is aware or have heard of CNIL, up from half the population of the country in 2012.

Recently, in Feb 2014, CNIL fined Google €150,000 over the tech giant’s data policy and demanded that link to the CNIL site. Ironically, this then resulted in the official CNIL buckling under the weight of user traffic that was redirected to Google. This was the clear message posted on the Google France home-page. “Press release: the CNIL has fined Google €150,000 for violating the law on “information and freedoms,” said the notice. “The decision can be accessed at the following web address,” it said.

Google specifically, was ordered to remove “outdated or irrelevant” information about individuals by the European Court of Justice in May 2014, in what was a landmark hearing. After reviewing the state of these complaints, CNIL referred just under a hundred cases to Google. Twenty, have been dealt with so far.

“We sent requests to Google for about 90 complaints in support of the delisting. Twenty have already been the subject of a delisting. For the others, we are waiting for answers from Google, “French ZDNet quoted Daniela Parrot, head of complaints from the CNIL.

Out of the above 90 complaints, 25-30 have been dismissed outright as they were entitled to be ‘de-referenced’(removed) only on the local extension of Google, specifically

It hasn’t been a complete defeat for the public however, as “in certain types of cases, they got dereferencing at a European level”, according to Daniel Parrot.

CNIL continues to have run-ins with Google and certainly will do so in the future. You might want someone to fight for your privacy rights, too.