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Google fined for huge privacy violations

The company with the famous motto 'don't be evil', Google, has been fined $1.4 million for 'serious violations of users' privacy' in Spain.

The Spanish Data Protection Agency, Spain's privacy watchdog, accused the US-based multinational search giant of 'illegal processing of personal data' obtained from users.

It ordered Google to pay 300,000 euros (AU$462,000) for each of three counts of breaching Spain's data protection law and ordered it to bring its privacy policy in line with legal norms.

"Google unlawfully collects and processes personal information' of users" the agency said in a statement on Thursday.

"The agency considers that Google seriously violates the right to the protection of personal data."

It said Google's privacy policy did not clearly inform users of how it uses data collected, and accused Google of keeping the data for longer than is legally justified and of making it difficult for users to query the use of their data.

Google told Reuters it had engaged with the Spanish authorities to explain its privacy policy and would decide on which action to take once it had the opportunity to fully read its report.

The investigations, including similar probes in France and the Netherlands among others, were triggered after Google in March 2012 unilaterally imposed new terms of service on users of all its cloud services, which include YouTube, Gmail and Google's own search engine.

That decision triggered privacy investigations in six European countries, including Spain.

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