French fine of 150 million euros to Google for cookie breach

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The CNIL, France’s data privacy authority, fined Alphabet’s Google a record 150 million euros ($169 million) on Thursday for making it difficult for Internet users to reject web trackers known as cookies.

According to the CNIL, Facebook from Meta Platforms was also fined 60 million euros for the same reason. Cookie consent is a crucial pillar of European Union data privacy regulation and a primary goal for the CNIL. Cookies are small pieces of data that help develop targeted digital advertising campaigns.

“Accepting cookies is as simple as clicking a button,” said Karin Kiefer, the CNIL’s director of data protection and sanctions. “It should be just as simple to decline cookies as it is to accept them.”

The watchdog said in a statement that it found that the websites, and do not make it easy to reject cookies, citing Google’s video streaming platform as an example, Reuters reports.

The two companies had three months to comply with the CNIL directives or face a fine of €100,000 per day of delay. Among them is the need for Google and Facebook to provide French Internet users with simpler tools to reject cookies in order to guarantee their permission.

Although Google and Facebook provided a virtual button to allow the immediate acceptance of cookies, the CNIL declared that there was no counterparty to deny them instantly.

“People trust us to protect them and respect their right to privacy. In light of this ruling, we recognize our obligation to protect that trust and have committed to making further adjustments and actively collaborating with the CNIL,” according to a Google representative.

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A Facebook request for comment was not immediately returned. The CNIL’s previous record fine of €100 million was imposed on Google in 2020. The CNIL discovered at the time that French Google websites did not obtain prior authorization from visitors before placing advertising cookies on their computers. and they offered no clear information on how he intended to use them.

Since then, according to Kiefer, the difficulties have been resolved. The CNIL strengthened consent rights over ad trackers in 2020, by requiring websites operating in France to keep a six-month record of internet users’ refusal to accept cookies.

In addition, it stated that Internet users should be able to easily reconsider any initial cookie agreement through a web link or icon available on every page of the website.

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