Google fined 150 million euros by French authorities for abusive practices


The French authorities have accused Google of not providing users with a sufficiently accessible dialog to accept / reject cookies used by the US company to track web browsing sessions.

The sanction imposed it is just the latest defeat in a long line of lawsuits, including abuses such as copyright infringement when taking over news sites and unfair advertising practices.

The icing on the cake was certainly a € 500 million fine after the US company avoided “negotiating” in good faith “licensing agreements to take over the content provided by European publications and news agencies. The problem has been ignored by a court ruling in April 2020, which obliges Google to negotiate “in good faith” with European publications and news agencies on the takeover / reuse of content protected by copyright law.

In this context, the € 150 million fine set by the French authorities for improper presentation of the cookie acceptance dialog (required for all websites accessed in Europe) seems trivial, but could pave the way for other sanctions.

Cookies are small pieces of information used to document your online activity. Any website may request the placement of cookies on the devices of visitors, but only by displaying and accepting an express agreement, in which the purpose of those cookies is clearly presented to the targeted persons. In many cases, cookies are even needed to provide basic and perfectly legitimate features of that site, such as saving login data for the next visit and keeping custom settings, such as interface and location customization options. on the page. The problem is that the use of cookies can go much further than that, also serving as tools for finding information about browsing habits that do not exactly respect the functionality offered by the site, or the interests of users.

According to Article 82 of the French Data Protection Act, the user has the right to opt out of the online monitoring practices carried out through cookies, and companies have a responsibility to facilitate this decision as easily as possible.

However, Google and its subsidiary YouTube did not take steps to allow French users to reject the placement of those cookies in a fairly simple manner, given the ease with which that message can be accepted.

Separately, the French authorities also fined Facebook, with 60 million euros, for similar abuses.

Both companies have 3 months to rectify the situation, after which they are liable to fines of 100,000 euros for each additional day in which the problem related to the request for cookies is not addressed.


Source: Go4IT by www.go4it.ro.

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