France hits Google and Facebook with major fines for using cookie trackers

Hands typing on a keyboard surrounded by security icons
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France's data regulator has fined Google €150 million and Facebook €60 million for violating EU privacy rules. 

The fines relate to how Google and Facebook present users with options around accepting or rejecting cookies. The Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) argues that the American tech giants make it too difficult for users to successfully avoid agreeing to the terms. 

Facebook's Irish subsidiary is on the hook for €60 million while Google's larger sum is split across €90 million for its US operation and €60 million for its Irish equivalent. 

Tea and a biscuit 

Cookie notifications are an ever-present facet of life for EU internet users and companies have devised strategies for getting users to accept the terms, often at a cost to their online privacy. 

"We are reviewing the authority's decision and remain committed to working with relevant authorities," a spokesperson for Facebook said. "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."

"People trust us to respect their right to privacy and keep them safe," said Google. "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."

The fines follow several other recent moves by regulators to rein in foreign tech companies, including the record nearly $1 billion Amazon fine and Norway's decision to punish Grindr

Via Politico

Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.