The CNIL, France’s data privacy watchdog, fined Alphabet’s Google a record 150 million euros ($169 million) on Thursday for making it difficult for internet users to refuse online web trackers known as cookies.
According to the CNIL, Meta Platforms’ Facebook was also fined 60 million euros for the same reason.
Karin Kiefer, CNIL’s head for data protection and sanctions, said “When you accept cookies, it’s done in just one click,”
“Rejecting cookies should be as easy as accepting them”.
The two companies had three months to comply with the CNIL’s directives or face a penalty of 100,000 euros per day of delay.
Among them is Google’s and Facebook’s need to provide French internet users with simpler tools for refusing cookies in order to ensure their consent.
While Google and Facebook provided a virtual button to allow immediate acceptance of cookies, the CNIL stated that there was no equivalent to instantly refuse the cookies easily.
A Google spokesperson said “People trust us to respect their right to privacy and keep them safe. 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,”
According to the CNIL, internet users should be able to easily reconsider any initial cookie agreement via a web link or an icon that should be available on all website pages.