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Fines Slapped On Google And Amazon For Violation Of Cookies Rules By French Watchdog

Fines Slapped On Google And Amazon For Violation Of Cookies Rules By French Watchdog
Its biggest ever fine of 100 million euros ($121 million) was handed over by France's data privacy watchdog to Alphabet's Google over charges of the tech giant violating the regulations on online advertising trackers (cookies) of the country.
A fine of 35 million euros was also slapped on e-commerce giant Amazon over the same charges, the CNIL said on Thursday.
The watchdog said in a statement that it had concluded that the French websites of the companies did not ask permission or consent from visitors prior to showing then advertising cookies which are small pieces of data stored while navigating on the Web, and these were then stored in the visitors’ computers.  
The watchdog said that adequate and concise information to internet users about how the visitors to their French websites could deny using the cookies and information about how the companies intended to make use of such online trackers were not provided to the users by both Google and Amazon.
The argument of the two companies that the watchdog did not have the right to impose the sanctions because Google and Amazon have their European headquarters in Ireland and Luxembourg, was also rejected by the CNIL. Ireland and Luxembourg are the two countries that some data privacy advocacy groups perceive to be excessively lenient toward Silicon Valley companies.
Most part of the fine slapped on Google in Europe will have to be paid by the United States based entity Google LLC while the rest of the fine by the EU-based Google Ireland Limited with a share of 60 million euros and 40 million respectively, the CNIL said.
Its Luxembourg-based entity will have ot pay the fine for Amazon. .
The two companies had been given a time period of three months to change the information banners, the CNIL said. An additional fine of 100,000 euros per day will be slapped against the companies till such time that they comply with the order, it added.
A spokesman for the watchdog said, the financial penalty slapped on Google is the highest ever handed out by the CNIL. The previous highest fine was also against the Google when the watchdog had slapped a fine of 50 million euros over charges of breach of data privacy rules of the European Union.
"We stand by our record of providing upfront information and clear controls, strong internal data governance, secure infrastructure, and above all, helpful products," Google said in a statement.
"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."
In a separate statement Amazon said that it did not agree with the decision of the CNIL.
"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," it said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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