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Google hit with €150mn French fine for cookie breaches

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A 3D printed Facebook's new rebrand logo Meta is seen in front of displayed Google logo in this illustration taken on November 2, 2021. (Reuters photo)

France's data privacy watchdog CNIL said on Thursday it had fined Alphabet's Google (GOOGL.O) a record 150 million euros ($169 million) for making it difficult for internet users to refuse online trackers known as cookies.

Meta Platforms' Facebook (FB.O) was also fined 60 million euros for the same reason, the CNIL said.

"The CNIL has found that the facebook.com, google.fr and youtube.com websites do not allow to refuse cookies as easily as it is to accept them", the watchdog said in a statement, also citing Google's video-streaming platform.

The authority said the two companies had three months to comply with its orders or face an extra penalty payment of 100,000 euros per day of delay.

These include the obligation for Google and Facebook to provide French internet users simpler tools for refusing cookies, in order to guarantee their consent.

The CNIL said that while Google and Facebook provided a virtual button to allow the immediate acceptance for cookies, there was no equivalent to refuse them as easily.

"People trust us to respect their right to privacy and keep them safe. We understand our responsibility to protect that trust and are committing to further changes and active work with the CNIL in light of this decision," a Google spokesperson said.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Source: Reuters)


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