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  • Updated: January 06, 2022

French Regulator Fines Google, Meta Heavily Over Cookies

Google and Meta/Facebook has been fined €150 million ($170 million) and €60 million ($68 million) respectively for failing to allow French users to easily reject cookie tracking technology as required by EU privacy rules, by France's data regulator CNIL.

CNIL in a press release stated that the fines were specifically levied against Google's US and Irish operations (€90 million and €60 million respectively) and against Facebook's Irish arm. 

CNIL explained that both companies will facedaily fines of €100,000 if they don't change their practices within three months of CNIL's official decision. 

"In addition to the fines, the restricted committee ordered the companies to provide Internet users located in France with a means of refusing cookies as simple as the existing means of accepting them, in order to guarantee their freedom of consent, within three months. If they fail to do so, the companies will have to pay a penalty of 100,000 euros per day of delay."

 A Meta spokesperson told Politico. "​​We are reviewing the authority's decision and remain committed to working with relevant authorities,"

"Our cookie consent controls provide people with greater control over their data, including a new settings menu on Facebook and Instagram where people can revisit and manage their decisions at any time, and we continue to develop and improve these controls."

Google spokesperson in a statement said said "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 under the ePrivacy Directive."

CNIL said it has issued 100 orders and sanctions related to non-compliance with cookie legislation since it went into force on March 31, 2021. The regulator previously fined Google €100 million for cookie violations under European e-Privacy rules and €50 million for GDPR violations. 

What is COOKIE

Privacy protection online can be overwhelming. Fortunately, even a basic understanding of cookies can help you keep unwanted eyes off your internet activity.

While most cookies are perfectly safe, some can be used to track you without your consent. 

Cookies are paramount to the modern Internet but a vulnerability to users privacy. It is a necessary part of web browsing that let websites remember a user, your website logins, shopping carts and more. But they can also be a treasure trove of private info for criminals to spy on. 

According to Kaspersky, Cookies are text files with small pieces of data — like a username and password — that are used to identify your computer as you use a computer network. Specific cookies known as HTTP cookies are used to identify specific users and improve your web browsing experience.

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Lawrence Agbo
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