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France fines Google and Amazon €135M for advertising cookies

France’s data privacy watchdog CNIL said Thursday it has fined two Google units totaling €100 million, as well as an Amazon subsidiary of €35 million for advertising by means of cookies, as the fine came due to Cookie advertisements appearing on users’ devices without their prior consent and without providing sufficient information.

A cookie is a small piece of data that is stored on a user’s computer browser that allows websites to recognize users and remember their past activities, the authority stated that when a user visited google.fr, several cookies that are used for advertising purposes appeared on his computer automatically, without the user taking any action that would lead to their appearance, and added that something similar happened when visiting amazon.fr.

The agency has blamed Google for providing insufficient privacy information to users, as it did not let them know the appearance of their cookies, in addition to the fact that the procedure to block this feature is still in place, and the agency said that Amazon also did not provide clear or complete information regarding The cookies that appeared in users only after the feature was modified in September of this year.

Google also stopped cookies from appearing on users’ computers starting in September, but the agency said the companies still did not have an adequate explanation for their use of them, and a fine of €35 million ($42 million) was imposed on Amazon Europe Core. Plus fines to Google LLC of €60 million and Google Ireland Ltd of €40 million.

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