France Sins Record Fine of $ 170 Million on Google For Making It Too Difficult To Disable Cookies
- French authorities have fined Google a record $ 170 million for invasion of privacy.
- Google and Facebook were fined for making it too difficult for users to reject tracking cookies.
- Businesses have three months to comply or face fines of $ 113,000 per day.
Authorities in France have fined Google a record 150 million euros (around $ 170 million) after failing to make it easy for users to decline cookies when using its search engine.
The move marks the latest blow to the tech giant in Europe, which has been repeatedly fined for violations of EU competition law and is the subject of investigations in various jurisdictions across the continent.
Cookies are small data files that store information about your online activity. These files are used by companies like Google to remember you, keep you logged in between sessions, and save your preferences.
However, under article 82 of the Data Protection Act, users have the right to refuse kitchen tracking when they are online, and businesses have a responsibility to allow them to do so easily.
In a statement released Thursday, the French data protection authority CNIL said Google’s search engine and its subsidiary YouTube had not made it easy enough for French users to reject cookies, compared to the ease with which which it was to accept them.
In a second press release, the CNIL revealed that it had also fined the Facebook holding company Meta 60 million euros (or about $ 68 million) for the same offense.
The data watchdog noted that both companies made it easier to turn on cookie tracking with the click of a button, but it’s more complicated to turn off all tracking.
The two companies now have three months to change how cookies work on their platforms, under penalty of fines of € 100,000 (or $ 113,000) per day.
“People trust us to respect and protect their right to privacy,” a Google spokesperson told Politico. “We understand our responsibility to protect this trust and we are committed to continuing the changes and to working actively with the CNIL in light of this decision. “
A spokesperson for Meta told Politico the company is “reviewing the authority’s decision,” adding: “Our cookie consent controls give people greater control over their data, including a new settings menu on Facebook and Instagram where people can review and manage their decisions at any time. time, and we continue to develop and improve these controls. “
Insider has approached Google and Meta for further comment.
Do you work at Google? Contact reporter Martin Coulter by email at [email protected], or through the Signal encrypted messaging app on +447801985586.