Google links to French privacy site, which then crashes due to traffic

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Behold the power of Google, for asking the search giant to link to your page can result in your site crashing.

That’s exactly what happened to a French privacy watchdog’s site. The watchdog, dubbed the National Commission on Informatics and Liberty, or CNIL, forced to put up a link on Google’s homepage that took users to a page detailing a ruling against Google for what the CNIL considered to be violations of privacy. 

Here’s what the notice imposed on Google’s French homepage said:

“Press release: the CNIL has fined Google €150,000 for violating the law on “information and freedoms,” the notice said. “The decision can be accessed at the following web address,” which included a link to the ruling.

As part of the punishment imposed on Google, the notice was supposed to remain on Google’s French homepage for two days. However, people who saw the notice were naturally curious, so many people clicked. Too many peopled hit the link, as it turns out, as the CNIL’s site wasn’t prepared to handle the traffic that came from Google’s homepage. In all fairness though, we wonder how many sites would be able to handle that many hits. Google was also fined 150,000 Euros.

In the future, the CNIL might take an approach that was adopted in Belgium, when a 2006 ruling forced the search giant to post the contents of a ruling for five days, or face a fine of 500,000 Euros per day. However, it was not required to post a link along with the ruling, so no sites were harmed as a result.

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