France imposes millionaire fines on Google and Facebook for their ‘cookie’ policy

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Updated on Thursday, 6 January 2022 – 11:14

The National Commission of Informatics and Freedoms argues that the platforms do not allow rejecting the ‘cookies’ “with the same ease” as if the user decides to accept them

Facebook and Google icons DENIS CHARLETAFP

The French data protection agency has fined the companies Google and Facebook this Thursday with 150 and 60 million euros respectively because of the “cookies“, the computer trackers they use for advertising purposes.

The 150 million euros (about 165 million dollars) imposed on Google represent the largest fine to date in France for this company, which was already sanctioned with another 100 million euros (about 113 million dollars) in December 2020 for the same reasons.

The National Commission of Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL) “has found that the websites facebook.com, google.fr and youtube.com do not allow” rejecting “cookies” “with the same ease” as if the user decides to accept them, the statement indicated.

Facebook Y Google (owner of Youtube) have three months to correct this detrimental imbalance for the user, under penalty of paying an additional 100,000 euros (about $ 113,000) for each day of delay, adds the French commission.

Google assures that it will change its policy after this new fine, in a statement sent to .. “We are committed to applying new changes, as well as actively working with the CNIL in response to its decision, in accordance with the directive [europea] ePrivacy“, has indicated the American giant.

“Several clicks”

The “cookies“They are small files that detect the sites that Internet users visit, which are then the subject of supposedly personalized advertising messages. This tracking is constantly denounced by consumer defense associations and Internet users.

The European Union in 2018 approved a regulation on personal data with stricter rules. Users receive, when opening an internet page, a notice to specifically authorize the use of “cookies“, to partially modify that use or simply not to accept it.

But the total rejection of computer tracking is difficult, criticizes the French CNIL. “The websites facebook.com, google.fr and youtube.com offer a button that allows you to immediately accept the ‘cookies‘”, while to reject them completely” several clicks are necessary, “explains the statement.

The French body had given website publishers until April 2021 to adapt to European regulations. In July, the newspaper Le Figaro was the first to suffer the consequences of this hardening, with a fine of 50,000 euros (about $ 55,000) because of the “cookies“used by business partners on the newspaper’s website.

The commission recently alerted that since April it has sent notices to 90 internet sites to modify their devices. Amazon It was also fined in 2020, with 35 million euros (about 39 million dollars) for the same causes.

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