A new French law, published on March 30, 2011, allows, among other things, the French Data Protection Authority, the CNIL, to give more publicity to sanctions it imposes.

Prior to this reform, the French data protection authority could only publicize its rulings on its website and on “Légifrance”, the French official website for law. Publication in other media was only possible when a data processor had been sanctioned for having acted in bad faith.

From now on, the CNIL is allowed to order the publication of pronounced sanctions in newspapers and other media, whether or not the data processor involved has acted in bad faith.

This reform took place only two weeks after the CNIL issued a €100.000 fine against GOOGLE in the GOOGLE STREET VIEW case.

At that time, given the absence of bad faith on GOOGLE’s part, the CNIL could only publish the sentence on its website and on “Légifrance”.

We believe this change will significantly increase publicity about the CNIL’s sanctions, thereby dissuading wrongdoing.