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France slams Google, Facebook with $237m Fines over ‘Cookies’

Tech giants, Google and Facebook have been slammed with 210 million euros ($237 million) in fines over their use of “cookies,” to track users online, French regulators said on Thursday, Jan. 6.

Also, other U.S. tech giants like Apple and Amazon, have come under growing pressure over their business practices across Europe, where they have faced massive fines and plans to impose far-reaching EU rules on how they operate.

The 150-million-euro fine imposed on Google was a record by France’s National Commission for Information Technology and Freedom (CNIL), beating a previous cookie-related fine of 100 million euros against the company in December 2020.

Facebook was handed a 60-million-euro fine.

“CNIL has determined that the sites, and do not allow users to refuse the use of cookies as simply as to accept them,” the regulatory body said. The two platforms have three months to adapt their practices, after which France will impose fines of 100,000 euros per day, CNIL added.

Google told AFP it would change its practices following the ruling.

Germany’s antitrust regulator on Jan. 5 classified Google a company of “paramount significance across markets,” a move paving the way for the authorities to clamp down on any potentially anti-competitive activities.

The decision is the first after an amendment of the German Competition Act came in force in January 2021, allowing the authority to intervene earlier, particularly against huge digital companies.

Wielding the new legislation, the Bundeskartellamt has over the last year opened probes into U.S. tech giants such as Amazon and Facebook.

In November 2021, Google lost an appeal at the European Union’s second-highest court against a 2.4 billion euro ($2.8 billion) fine imposed by Brussels for abusing its search engine dominance.




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