Security

France gives Google 3 months to change its privacy policy — or else

Remember that unified privacy policy Google introduced last year? Well, France wants Google to change it — or suffer the consequences.

The National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL), France’s watchdog body, is giving Google three months to change the policy, which it says violates France’s data-protection and privacy laws. If Google doesn’t comply, it could face fines as high as $595,000, as Reuters reports. (It should be pretty obvious how insignificant that amount is to Google.)

Under the new privacy policy, Google takes user data from services like YouTube, Google+, and Gmail and combines them under one big set of rules. While Google has repeatedly argued that the policy is easy to understand and makes its products better for users, that argument hasn’t been enough for European regulators, who are eager to wield influence over big international tech companies like Google.

As far as particular demands go, the CNIL wants Google to define both what exactly it does with user data and how long it holds on to them.

France’s continued pressure on Google comes as the company is still dealing with the public relations fallout over its alleged involvement with PRISM, the paranoia over which is also creating some major headaches for the company.

Both situations are similar: While Google argues it’s playing by the book and has nothing to hide, regulators and paranoid users are looking for conclusive proof of Google’s claims. I suppose that’s the price of being one the biggest companies in the world. Distrust tends to find you.