Google link crashes French Liberty Commission’s website

Avatar By Aaron Sims | 7 years ago

France’s CNIL (National Commission on Informatics and Liberty) recently reprimanded Google for the way in which the search engine giant has been collecting, processing, and storing consumer data. In the CNIL’s estimation, Google’s data storage policies took a turn into unforgivable and unlawful territory in March of 2012, when the company combined the various privacy policies for all of its different services – including Gmail, Google +, YouTube, and the Google search engine itself – under one single umbrella policy.

The new system allows Google to store consumer data across all of these disparate services, accumulating – if they want, that is – comprehensive documents on who their consumers are, what they like, and what they do on the internet. The CNIL is a staunch opponent to this policy and believes that Google neither informs its users “about the conditions and purposes of processing data,” nor sets any rules for itself on how long collected data can be retained or what it can be used for.

In response to Google’s rampant data collecting policies, the CNIL recently put its foot down. The French liberty commission issued a decision last month, fining Google 150,000 euros for violating citizens’ privacy rights. Furthermore, the CNIL wanted the French people to know about Google’s violation and about the fine. With that in mind, the organization included a mandate in its decision that would require the French version of Google (Google.fr) to post a notice of wrongdoing on its front search engine page for all to see. The notice, which was posted to Google’s site over the weekend – and which was supposed to stay up for two days – informed the public that the search engine company was being punished for “violating the law on ‘information and freedoms.'” It also included a link to the original CNIL decision, in case Google users were curious to learn more.

As it turned out, yes, plenty of Google users in France were interested in learning more. The  link on Google’s homepage got so many hits that the CNIL servers quickly overloaded, effectively crashing the commission’s website well before Google’s 48-hour punishment was over. Whether or not the CNIL will seek to punish Google through different methods now that one of its original mandates has failed will remain to be seen.