Google stays in the headlines for compliance fines

  • by Arlo Gilbert
  • · posted on August 25, 2022
  • · 3 min read
Google stays in the headlines for compliance fines

In this edition of Privacy Insider, we feature not one but two stories of Google facing data privacy penalties. The first focuses on a whopping $60 million fine levied by Australian officials; the other is a complaint filed with a French data protection authority that previously issued a $149 million penalty.

Those are certainly some alarming numbers, but Google has the resources to pay up. They also have the resources to dedicate toward compliance, which leads one to ask: If a company like Google can’t stay in compliance with all of its money and tech and smart people, what hope is there for my company?

Rest assured, most regular businesses putting the effort in toward compliance aren’t at risk of facing million-dollar penalties yearly — it’s not impossible, of course, but nothing in life is guaranteed.

Data protection authorities can and do go after small businesses and minor violations. (The smallest GDPR fine on the books was just €28). But enterprises like Google are going to attract more attention for several reasons.

For one, they’re simply larger and have more opportunities to violate regulations. They also provide fundamental services that most individuals and businesses need to consume, like cloud infrastructure, search, and e-commerce. And they’re highly visible, influential organizations. Other businesses look at a $60 million fine against Google and think: We can’t afford that. I’d better get my house in order.

But small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that make the effort to get their house in order and become compliant go a long way to reducing their risk. Data protection authorities aren’t interested in crippling SMBs — they’re interested in protecting consumers. They frequently give opportunities to correct mistakes before issuing a fine.

So, if you’re making a good-faith effort toward compliance, don’t let the headlines keep you up at night (unless you’re Google).

Best,
Arlo

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About The Author · Arlo Gilbert

Arlo Gilbert is the CEO & co-founder of Osano. An Austin, Texas native, he has been building software companies for more than 20 years in categories including telecom, payments, procurement, and compliance. In 2005 Arlo invented voice commerce, he has testified before congress on technology issues, and is a frequent speaker on data privacy rights.