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French data watchdog fines Google, Amazon over misuse of cookies

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This is how Google automatically predicts what you like to SearchParis, Dec 10 (IANS) France’s data protection regulator, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes or CNIL, on Thursday said it fined Google and Amazon 135 million euros (around $163 million) between them for using cookies without prior consent of users.

The CNIL’s restricted committee, which is responsible for imposing sanctions, fined the companies Google LLC and Google Ireland Limited a total of 100 million euros for having placed advertising cookies on the computers of users of the search engine google.fr, without obtaining prior consent and without providing adequate information, the data watchdog said.

The committee also fined Amazon Europe Core 35 million euros for having placed advertising cookies on users’ computers, from the page amazon.fr, without obtaining prior consent and without providing adequate information, CNIL said.

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Both the companies updated their websites in September to ensure that no cookie is placed without prior consent of the user.

However, CNIL’s restricted committee found that the new information banner set up still does not allow the users living in France to understand that the cookies are mainly used to propose personalised ads and that they were still not informed that they could refuse these cookies.

As a consequence, in addition to the financial penalty, the restricted committee also ordered the companies to adequately inform individuals, in accordance with Article 82 of the French Data Protection Act, within three months after the notification of the decision.

Otherwise, the companies must pay a penalty payment of 100,000 euros for each day of delay, CNIL said.

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Amazon said it disagreed with CNIL’s decision, The Verge reported.

“We continuously update our privacy practices to ensure that we meet the evolving needs and expectations of customers and regulators and fully comply with all applicable laws in every country in which we operate,” the company was quoted as saying.

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Google said it stands by its efforts to provide information about tracking and control to users.

“Today’s decision under French ePrivacy laws overlooks these efforts and doesn’t account for the fact that French rules and regulatory guidance are uncertain and constantly evolving. We will continue to engage with the CNIL as we make ongoing improvements to better understand its concerns,” a spokesperson from Google was quoted as saying.

Source: IANS

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