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French Privacy Watchdog Fines Google, Amazon $163M Over Cookie Management: Bloomberg

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Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google and Amazonn.com, Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) have been fined €100 million (roughly $121 million) and €35 million (roughly $42 million) by France’s privacy watchdog for violating user consent in cookie management, Bloomberg reports.

What Happened: The Commission Nationale Informatique & Libertés, CNIL, is France’s data protection agency overlooking user safety and privacy.

It slapped Google with a hefty €100 million fine for its search engine cookie management on Thursday. Similarly, Amazon was hit with a €35 million fine for placing cookies on user devices without consent, the agency said in a statement.

Both companies are given three months to change the information they provide to users failing which an additional fine of €100,000 will be levied daily.

Google said the agency is overlooking the company’s efforts “of providing upfront information and clear controls, strong internal data governance, secure infrastructure, and above all, helpful products.” Google also said that the French agency’s “rules and regulatory guidance are uncertain and constantly evolving,” Bloomberg reports.

Amazon also disagreed with the watchdog’s findings and said, “We continuously update our privacy practices to ensure that we meet the evolving needs and expectations of customers and regulators.”

Why It Matters: The CINL said that though Google has made changes since September, the information provided to Google users in France still doesn’t inform them sufficiently about why and how cookies are used, Bloomberg reports.

EU data protection regulations have increased significantly since the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, took effect in May 2018. The law allows the agency to levy fines up to 4% of a company’s annual global revenue.

The penalty is Alphabet’s second, as the company has face scrutiny from the data protection agencies. According to Bloomberg, the Sundar Pichai-led company has been fined more than €8.2 billion in three antitrust cases.

Related Links: French Tax Authorities Nudge Amazon, Facebook To Shell Out Digital Tax

Amazon To Face EU Antitrust Charges

For news coverage in Italian or Spanish, check out Benzinga Italia and Benzinga España.

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