Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), owner of internet giant Google was fined €50 million (£44mln) by France’s privacy regulator for breaching the EU’s data protection rules on Monday, fuelling worries that other US tech firms could also be targeted.
The penalty for Google marked the first time the French watchdog has used its powers under the General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) which came into force in May 2018.
Under GDPR, customers have the right to access a copy of the personal data companies hold about them.
France’s data authority CNIL said the amount of the fine was “justified by the severity of the infringements observed regarding the essential principles” of the rules.
Google has come under CNIL’s scrutiny many times before but, under the old rules, fines couldn’t exceed the maximum of €150,000.
Now, however, the maximum penalty for a GDPR breach is €20mln (£17.7mln) or 4% of a company's global turnover for the most serious violations.
A BBC report on Tuesday quoted European privacy group noybas saying it found that most of the big streaming companies did not fully comply with GDPR.
The report said noyb has filed formal complaints against entertainment streaming giants including Google, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), and Spotify Technology SA (NYSE:SPOT).