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10 Dec, 2020 10:47

French data privacy watchdog fines Google €100mn for breaching cookies rules

French data privacy watchdog fines Google €100mn for breaching cookies rules

The CNIL watchdog on Thursday handed down its biggest-ever fine to Alphabet's Google and also slapped online shopping giant Amazon with a financial penalty for breaching France's rules on online cookies.

The data privacy watchdog fined Google €100 million ($121 million), while imposing a fine of €35 million ($42.4 million) on US e-commerce giant Amazon over their advertising trackers.

The regulator accused Google and Amazon of not seeking the prior consent of visitors on their French websites before advertising cookies were saved on computers. They also failed to provide clear information about how such online trackers would be used. The visitors were also not informed of how they could refuse any use of the cookies.

The firms now have three months to change the information banners, but if they fail to do so, an additional fine of €100,000 ($121,000) per day will be imposed until the modifications are made.

The watchdog said the fine against Google was the biggest ever issued by the CNIL, while the previous record penalty of €50 million ($60.5 million) for breaching European Union data privacy rules was also imposed on the same company.

Also on rt.com EU launches antitrust probe into Google’s Fitbit deal over privacy issues

Google defended its "helpful products," saying that it stands by its record of providing "clear controls" and "secure infrastructure." The watchdog's decision "overlooks these efforts," the company said, while also complaining about "uncertain and constantly evolving" French rules.

Amazon also claimed that its privacy practices are continuously updated so that they "fully comply with all applicable laws in every country in which we operate."

The Alphabet unit had been earlier fined more than €8.2 billion ($9.9 billion) in three antitrust cases.

The fines were levied on Thursday based on French rules, but EU watchdogs may also impose fines of as much as four percent of a company's annual global sales in line with the General Data Protection Regulation that took effect in May 2018.

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