The policy change, the company has maintained, does not include any changes to Google's data sharing policies with regard to third-parties, but only makes the company itself able to use the data it already had access to across its own products.
This means Google can make better recommendations and deliver more relevant advertising and information to its users, who often use more than one Google product.
The policy has been in effect for over a year, but France and other European countries have been criticizing the changes and calling for Google to alter the way it handles user privacy ever since. Now, Google is facing fines as a result.
Bloomberg reports that France has given Google three months to change its policy to avoid fines, andthat other European countries will "follow suit". Francois de Beaupuy & Stephanie Bodoni write:
The U.S. search engine giant is breaching French laws because it “prevents individuals from knowing how their personal data may be used and from controlling such use,” France’s National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties, the country’s data protection watchdog known as CNIL, said today in a statement in Paris. It ordered Google to comply with the French Data Protection Act.
“France, Spain, the U.K. at the start of next week and Germany at the end of next week will all take a formal and official decision to start repressive proceedings against Google, and a second salvo will come from Italy and the Netherlands by the end of July,” Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chairwoman of the French authority, said.
CNIL's statement can be found here (in French).