US tech giants, Google and Amazon have been fined 135 million euros by France’s CNIL data privacy watchdog for placing advertising cookies on users’ computers without consent.
According to AFP, the 100-million-euro fine against Google is the largest sanction the regulator has ever imposed, which it justified by the fact 90 per cent of French internet users use the firm’s search engine.
On the reason for the fine, CNIL said the fines were “for having placed advertising cookies on the computers of users… without obtaining prior consent and without providing adequate information.”
A cookie which is important for providing targeted advertising as well as improving user experience on websites is a small piece of data stored on a user’s computer browser that allows websites to identify users and remember their previous activity.
The CNIL said when a user visited the website google.fr, several cookies used for advertising purposes were automatically placed on his or her computer, without any action required on the user’s part.
It said a similar thing happened when visiting one page on the amazon.fr website.
In reaction to the development, the regulator said, “No matter what path the users used to visit the website, they were either insufficiently informed or never informed of the fact that cookies were placed on their computer.”