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News > France

France Fines Google $120M and Amazon $42M for Placing Cookies

  • Google logo is displayed at the company’s offices in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 10, 2020.

    Google logo is displayed at the company’s offices in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 10, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 10 December 2020

French data privacy regulator imposed fines on these U.S. tech companies for breaching European Union's privacy data rules.

France's National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL) Thursday announced fines of US$120 million for Google and US$42 million for Amazon for their online advertising trackers (cookies).


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French authorities said that Google and Amazon were fined for the non-consensual introduction of advertisements on users' computers.

"These types of cookies cannot be installed without the users having expressed their consent," the CNIL explained.

The authorities also mentioned that the information windows on cookies did not offer "any information" to the user about the cookies that have already been installed on the computer from the moment users connect to the companies' internet pages.

The CNIL reproaches Google that even when the personalization of the ads was deactivated, one of the advertising cookies was still stored on the computer and continued to register content for the search engine.

The practices of Google, which indirectly gets advertising revenue thanks to the information collected with these instruments, have affected nearly 50 million users in France.

The CNIL insisted on the "seriousness" of the infractions committed by both companies, which have already changed their cookie policy since September 20. Even though these changes have already been made, Internet users still cannot understand the purpose of cookies.

For this reason, the French authorities order companies to change their information windows for customers within three months. If they do not, they will impose a payment of 100,000 euros for each day of delay.

In January 2019, CNIL had already fined Google US$60 million for lack of transparency, incorrect information, and lack of consent in personalized advertising.

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