Google Fined Nearly $57 Million for Alleged Violations of EU GDPR

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On January 21, 2019, France’s National Data Protection Commission (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés or CNIL) imposed a financial penalty of €50 million euros – nearly $57 million U.S. dollars – against Google LLC for an alleged lack of transparency, inadequate information, and lack of valid consent regarding the personalization of advertisements in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Google Fined $57 Million for GDPR Violations

The fine of €50 Million euros against Google is the largest penalty yet imposed under the GDPR, the primary law regulating how companies protect the personal data of citizens in the European Union (EU) that began being enforced on May 25, 2018. On that day, complaints were filed against Facebook, Google (Android), Instagram, and WhatsApp for alleged violations of the GDPR.

The CNIL received group complaints from None Of Your Business (NOYB) and La Quadrature du Net (LQDN), the latter being mandated by 10,000 people to refer the matter to the CNIL. In the two complaints, the associations claimed Google did not have a valid legal basis to process the personal data of the users of its services, particularly for advertising personalization purposes.

On the basis of the inspections carried out, the CNIL observed two types of breaches of the GDPR. First, the CNIL noticed that the information provided by Google was not easily accessible for users, a violation of GDPR obligations of transparency and information. Second, Google stated it obtained user consent to process data for ads personalization purposes but the CNIL considered the consent not validly obtained.

U.S. employers performing international background checks in the EU must comply with the GDPR or face penalties of up to four percent of annual global turnover or €20 million Euros. This is the first time the CNIL has applied sanction limits provided by the GDPR. The €50 million euro fine against Google was justified by infringements of essential principles of the GDPR: transparency, information, and consent.

As a result of the GDPR, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – has incorporated fully compliant GDPR policies, procedures, and technologies to help employers screen EU residents. The award-winning ESR Assured Compliance® system has been augmented to provide required GDPR related tools and support for the various GDPR rights of all EU data subjects.

ESR won the 2018 TekTonic Award from HRO Today Magazine that recognizes innovation and disruption in the world of HR and recruiting technology. The ESR Assured Compliance® system revolutionizes background screening and enables employers and volunteer organizations to mitigate risk when it comes to maintaining compliance with the ever-changing patchwork of background screening laws such as GDPR.

The 28 member countries of the EU – an economic and political partnership between European countries – include (in alphabetical order) Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

In addition to its GDPR-compliant technology, ESR has self-certified its adherence to the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework with approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). Along with Microsoft and Salesforce, ESR was one of the first adopters of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework with an original certification date of August 12, 2016.

ESR Helps U.S. Employers with EU GDPR Compliance

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is not a typical screening firm and does not intend to become one. ESR’s global reach to more than 240 counties and territories helps companies navigate the international screening landscape including GDPR compliance. To learn more about global screening solutions from ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/ESR-Global-Solutions/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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