France hits Microsoft with €60m fine


The National Commission for Technology and Freedoms, France’s privacy watchdog, has slapped Microsoft with a €60m fine.

According to Security Week, the fine comes for the company foisting advertising cookies on users.

The CNIL said that Microsoft’s search engine Bing had not set up a system allowing users to refuse cookies as simply as accepting them.

The regulator said that after the investigation it found that when users visited the site, cookies were deposited on their terminal without their consent, while these cookies were used for advertising purposes.

CNIL also observed that there was no button allowing to refuse the deposit of cookies as easily as accepting it.

The CNIL said the fine was justified in part because of the profits the company made from advertising profits indirectly generated from the data collected via cookies. It added that Bing offered a button for the user to immediately accept all cookies, but two clicks were need to refuse them.

Microsoft has been given three months to rectify the issue, with a potential further penalty of €60,000 per day overdue. The fine was issued to Microsoft Ireland.

Microsoft said in a statement that it had introduced key changes to its cookie practices even before the investigation started.

It added, “We continue to respectfully be concerned with the CNIL’s position on advertising fraud.” The firm said that it believed the French watchdog’s position will ‘harm French individuals and businesses’.

Last year, CNIL issued a €20m fine on US-based facial recognition firm Clearview AI for breaching privacy laws.

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