The consumer action group, the Google Governance Campaign, has called on the British regulator, the Information Commissioner (ICO), to impose fines on Google for violating European privacy laws.

The internet giant has faced no sanction in the United Kingdom for its unified privacy policy, yet regulators in France have fined it €150k and in Spain the company has had to pay €900k in fines for breaking data protection laws.  The regulator in the Netherlands also says Google’s privacy policy breaks its laws.

Jonathan Hawker of the Google Governance Campaign argues that the UK must protect its citizens’ right to privacy also:

“Google is doing the same thing in France and Spain that it is doing in the UK.  But whereas regulators there are defending the rights of people in those countries, we Brits have no one sticking up for us.  We simply cannot understand why the Information Commissioner is not taking Google’s actions seriously, and we are beginning to wonder whether we need a real regulator with teeth that will be prepared to act.”

It is almost two years since Google changed its privacy policy and began the process of combing the data provided by people using its portfolio of services.  The Google Governance Campaign is virulently opposed to this consolidation of data which effectively allows a private organisation to hold files of data on British citizens, which it argues is a breach of our right to privacy.

Hawker added: “No one knows what Google does with our data, how long it keeps the information and what it plans to do with it.  But we all know that Google has consistently got into hot water by acting fast and loose in its gathering of private information.  If the regulator does not emulate its European counterparts, we shall have no option but to call on Parliament to remove its remit and to install a new body that is prepared to take action to stop this persistent abuse.”