Is Google My Business Legal? By Arnaud Dimeglio, lawyer, and Myriam Guerbaa, lawyer.

I) Google Directory Editor

The file created on professionals can be created on the initiative of the latter or from the company Google. In any case, it appears that this sheet was published by the company Google. The question of the legality of the sheet arises when the professional has not given his consent to its creation.

Can he oppose it?

When the file contains personal information (surname, first name, address, photo), regardless of whether it concerns professionals, the 1978 law on informatics and freedom seems to apply.

CNIL considers that data from professionals practicing in their own name constitute personal data within the meaning of Article 2 of the Act of 6. January 1978 (Council No 2009-329).

The question then arises as to whether the professional could invoke his right to oppose the processing of his data (section 38 of the Act).

This resistance appears particularly legitimate when the professional has not been informed of the creation of this file and when he discovers it without his knowledge. In fact, any data controller must inform interested parties about the processing of their personal data (Article 32 of the Act).

This resistance could also be legitimized by the fact that the professional can only manage his file if he “raises” it, in other words if he creates a Google account. In the same way, is it legitimate for Google to use personal data, even if it is professional, to promote its other services (Google Maps, Google Streetview, Google+ and related searches)?

This question also arises when the professional is not a natural person but a legal person, a trader or a company using a sign. In fact, it is the investment, sometimes even the professional fame, that is used by the company Google to promote its services.

Reuse of investments, without purse, however, is considered by case law to be a parasitic act involving the liability of its author on the basis of Article 1240 (ex. 1382) of the Civil Code.

A defect which the person skilled in the art could thus invoke in order to oppose the creation of his case file.

Finally, Google My Business allows you to rate, rate and give your opinion about the professional. This rating and evaluation system is open to anyone with a Google Account. Is it legitimate to let someone evaluate any professional?

Do we need to remember that the judges in the case felt that it was not fair, relevant and sufficient to offer someone to judge a teacher?

As the publisher of the file, therefore, the Google company has to deal with many issues. It must also respond in its capacity as host to the opinions.

II) Google review host

The opinions given by users work in the same way as a review page, ie. it is possible to leave a comment, but the primary purpose is to award a score from 1 to 5 stars. The user’s last name and first name are often not displayed, in favor of using a pseudonym.

Who is hiding behind an opinion? It may be a consumer, a customer who has actually benefited from the service, and expresses his dissatisfaction. But it could be that the pseudonym actually reveals a person who has never participated in the noted establishment, or even that a competitor is using this service to give his colleague bad publicity.

As a review host, Google is bound by an obligation to store and retain data that allows the identification of their authors.

It must provide this data on request, thus enabling the authors of the opinions to be identified (Article 6 of the Digital Economy Trust Act of 21 June 2004).

The identification of the authors of the statements will thus make it possible to determine their quality: competitor, employee, customer, third party, etc.

These persons may, once identified, be held liable for the content of the statements made by them as authors, and in particular in the event of damage to reputation. Sometimes the author of the review may not be identified. In this case, in the event of a criminal offense, it may be helpful to lodge a complaint against X.

Google must also immediately remove any content of an illegal nature (reduction, threat, illegal processing of personal data, etc.). Otherwise, it may be held liable (Article 6 of the LCEN).

When this content contains a violation of the law of 29. July 1881 (slander, insult, etc.), Article 93-3 of the Act of 29. July 1982 on audiovisual communication.

In fact, the space where Internet users can publish opinions can be qualified as a personal contribution space within the meaning of Article 5 of Article 93-3.

The Google My Business service thus raises many questions about its legality, which it will no doubt be up to the courts to decide.

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