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EU Google Privacy

EU Commissioner Renews Call for Serious Fines in Data Privacy Laws 162

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the except-when-the-state-does-it dept.
DW100 writes "Despite Google being fined €900,000 by Spanish authorities and €150,000 in France for its controversial privacy policies in recent months, an EU commissioner has admitted this is mere 'pocket money' to the company. Instead, a new legal regime that would have seen Google fined $1bn for breaching data protection laws is needed to make U.S. companies fear and respect the law in Europe. 'Is it surprising to anyone,' asked Commissioner Viviane Reding, 'that two whole years after the case emerged, it is still unclear whether Google will amend its privacy policy or not? Europeans need to get serious. And that is why our reform introduces stiff sanctions that can reach as much as 2% of the global annual turnover of a company. In the Google case, that would have meant a fine of EUR 731 million (USD 1 billion). A sum much harder to brush off.'"
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EU Commissioner Renews Call for Serious Fines in Data Privacy Laws

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  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @01:40AM (#46021783) Journal
    Yes, it sure would suck for EU tech companies to suddenly have a few hundred million customers with a well-defined and established need in a market where the incumbent dominant player has just decided to quit. I am sure that their bank managers would complain about them putting more into their accounts than they were expecting and their politicians would be very upset by all of that money flowing in their economies instead of going to the US.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @02:02AM (#46021885) Journal
    Note that I didn't say anything about taxes. Even if the company is avoiding all of its taxes, if its infrastructure and employees are all based in the EU then that's money circulating in the EU, which is of net benefit to the local economy and likely to result in local benefits and even in more total tax revenue. This is a big part of the reason why countries try to give companies tax breaks: even if none of the money is paid directly in taxes, it's better to have it circulate locally than to be sent elsewhere. This worked a lot better when you got a factory employing ten thousand people for your multimillion dollarpound tax break, rather than a datacenter employing 50...
  • by moronoxyd (1000371) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @02:18AM (#46021951)

    Solution: Fine them for random stuff for a lot of money.

    This isn't random stuff.
    Just because the US doesn't know what proper consumer protection and privacy laws are doesn't mean it isn't important.

  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @03:10AM (#46022109)

    Solution: Fine them for random stuff for a lot of money.

    This isn't random stuff.
    Just because the US doesn't know what proper consumer protection and privacy laws are doesn't mean it isn't important.

    Indeed. It's interesting that a lot of Americans respond to stories like this mostly with "zomg taxes!" It's almost as if you can't even imagine there is really an aspect of consumer protection involved. That says something about what you guys expect from government, methinks.

    Conversely I think this goes some way to explaining why a lot of Europeans don't actually mind taxes, certainly not as reflexively and dogmatically as many Americans seem to oppose them: they believe that these payments, or at least a part of them, will be spent toward their wellbeing.

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Tuesday January 21, 2014 @03:46AM (#46022207)

    This is a big part of the reason why countries try to give companies tax breaks: even if none of the money is paid directly in taxes, it's better to have it circulate locally than to be sent elsewhere.

    In well functioning economies, "circulating money" is a sign of lots of useful economic activity. Such useful activity happens when companies make things people want.

    But you're confused about cause and effect: you can't make an economy function well by forcing money to circulate. You and I can play ping pong with our wallets and circulate money between us all day long and nobody is going to benefit. If you tax that activity, the money will disappear entirely.

    This worked a lot better when you got a factory employing ten thousand people for your multimillion dollarpound tax break, rather than a datacenter employing 50...

    "Better" in what sense? The people back then had a much lower standard of living, their work was harder and more dangerous. And fewer people were working overall.

    if its infrastructure and employees are all based in the EU then that's money circulating in the EU,

    Because in Economics 101, we all learn that if we force goods (and hence money) to circulate within a country and to stop them from crossing borders, everybody is so much better off than if we let them engage in trade! Protectionism, yeah! It's worked so well!

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