On 1 March 2012, Google decided to merge into one single policy the different privacy policies applicable to about sixty of its services, including Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, Picasa, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Maps, etc.
In its decision, CNIL's Sanctions Committee considers that the data processed by the company about the users of its services in France must be qualified as personal data. It also judged that French law applies to the processing of personal data relating to Internet users established in France, contrary to Google's claim.
Spain, Britain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have also opened similar cases against Google.
The penalties that France and most other EU countries can impose remain small compared with the $10.7 billion net profit that Google earned in 2012.
Spain can impose fines of up to 1 million euros, while the German Data Protection Act caps penalties at 300,000 euros.