Google Faces Possible €6 Billion Fine Over Alleged GDPR Violations

Published · Jul 02, 2021

NOYB, a privacy advocacy group based in Austria, has called on the Austria Data Protection Authority to issue a fine of €6 billion to Google over alleged GDPR violations.

This is part of a process that began when NOYB filed complaints against 101 EU websites that continue to send site visitor data to Google, LLC and Facebook, Inc. in violation of a court ruling.

Allegedly, Google is still collecting data of EU citizens and passing it on to US authorities, which is in violation of GDPR.

In response, Google admits to processing EU data. It claims, however, that it uses “supplementary measures'' to help guard against NSA surveillance and is therefore complying with the GDPR.

On this note, Max Schrems, Honorary Chairman of NOYB.EU, says that Google is obliged to hand over all data under US law.

”US surveillance laws are also applicable behind fences. Standard encryption doesn't help either, as Google is required to hand over encryption keys too.”, he adds.

Schrems also reminds us that in 2019, Google gave the US government data on foreigners over 201,000 times.

The Privacy Crisis

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a binding regulation on data protection and privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Zone.

It doesn’t solely apply to EU-based entities, however, but also to data controllers and processors who handle the information of EU citizens. It’s a formidable regulation that has become a model for privacy laws in other territories, such as Brazil, Japan, and South Korea, among others. 

Despite the creation of new laws protecting privacy, corporations continue to flout them by finding loopholes.

Google and Facebook, in particular, are coming under increased scrutiny for data practices deemed to be in violation of the GDPR, with other fines being levied. For its part, Google is attempting to strengthen the privacy features of its services to ensure greater data protection. Facebook, on the other hand, has been less receptive to complaints.

Even if corporations are handling data responsibly, there’s still the risk of data breaches that could see many exposed to dangers, such as identity theft or phishing attempts.

While the law plays catch up to clamp down on privacy violations, a number of tools like VPNs and password managers can beef up personal security. Consumers can take charge of their online privacy, minimize their online footprint, and guard against corporate oversight and hackers alike.

Garan van Rensburg
Garan van Rensburg

Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.