French data regulator CNIL has fined Google €150 million ($170 million) and Meta €60 million ($68 million) over privacy law violations. Both companies have to pay up to €100,000 in fines per day if their practices don’t change over three months.
The CNIL alleges that Google and Facebook restricted users in France from rejecting cookie tracking technology. Allowing users to opt-out of cookie tracking is written into EU’s privacy rules, so this is a pretty steep violation.
“In addition to the fines, the restricted committee ordered the companies to provide Internet users located in France with a means of refusing cookies as simple as the existing means of accepting them, in order to guarantee their freedom of consent, within three months,” the CNIL said in a release (via Engadget).
Google said it is committing to “further changes” following CNIL’s announcement
The fines came against Google’s operations in Ireland and the U.S., in addition to Facebook’s Irish branch. Both companies have responded to the French regulator’s new fines.
“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 under the ePrivacy Directive,” Google’s statement read.
A spokesperson for Meta told Politico that the company is reviewing the CNIL’s decision. “Our cookie consent controls provide people with greater control over their data, including a new settings menu on Facebook and Instagram where people can revisit and manage their decisions at any time, and we continue to develop and improve these controls,” the spokesperson said.
Major corporations like Google have long been in the crosshairs of EU regulators. The CNIL fined Google €100 million not too long ago over cookie violations under EU’s e-Privacy regulations.
Similarly, the Italian competition authority, the AGCM, fined Google €102 million for “abuse of market dominance” last year. The regulator alleged that Google restricted regional company Enel X Italia from launching its JuicePass app on Android Auto. This likely won’t be the last of the fines Google or Meta faces this year. Regulators, on the other hand, hope that these steep fines serve as a deterrent against future violations.