“It is now up to each national data protection authority to carry out further investigations according to the provisions of its national law transposing European legislation,” the CNIL wrote on its website. “Consequently, all the authorities composing the taskforce have launched actions on 2 April 2013 on the basis of the provisions laid down in their respective national legislation (investigations, inspections, etc.).”
Unlike in the United States, where data privacy is loosely regulated by the states, the European Union regulates companies’ abilities to collect personal information -- and the regulations are generally much stricter than in the U.S.
Europe’s fight with Google comes at a time when those already-tough data-protection laws are poised to get even tougher. In December, the European Commission proposed a comprehensive reform to the data-protection rules it established in 1995, eons ago in the tech world.
In a press release at the time, the commission said its aim is to “strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy.” At the same time, the proposed rules could have serious implications for Google, Facebook and other U.S. tech companies whose livelihoods depend on their ability to sell advertising based on data they collect from their users.
The CNIL’s announcement came less than a day after Forbes reported that Alma Whitten, Google’s first director of privacy, is planning to step down. When the position was first announced in 2010, CNET called it “Google’s hardest job.”