Tech giants like Google, Facebook, and YouTube make it very easy for us users to consent to cookies via a single button, whereas rejecting the request requires several clicks.

On Thursday, French regulators hit Google and Facebook with 210 million euros ($237 million) in fines over their use of “cookies”, the data used to track users online.

France’s National Commission for Information Technology and Freedom (CNIL), a data privacy watchdog recorded the 150-million-euro fine imposed on Google, beating a previous cookie-related fine of 100 million euros against the company in December 2020. While Facebook was handed a 60-million-euro fine.

The French regulatory body said:

“CNIL has determined that the sites, and (Google-owned) do not allow users to refuse the use of cookies as simply as to accept them.”

Compared to the U.S. European governments have stricter regulations that require websites to ask for permission before tracking a user’s activity. Meaning people will face pop-up menus when they visit new websites, but there’s been growing concern that many are configured to make it confusing or tedious if they don’t want to give consent.

Facebook, which has been renamed Meta, said it’s reviewing the decision and is committed to working with authorities:

“Our cookie consent controls provide people with greater control over their data, including a new settings menu on Facebook and Instagram where people can revisit and manage their decisions at any time, and we continue to develop and improve these controls,” the company said.

Google said in response to the violation they committed:

“People trust us to respect their right to privacy and keep them safe. We understand our responsibility to protect that trust and are committing to further changes and active work with the CNIL in light of this decision.”

Newsmax has more of this report via AP News:

Cookies are snippets of code used to target internet users for digital ads and other purposes. 

Cookies have been a longstanding source of privacy concerns because they can be employed to track users across the internet. They can be used to help remember someone’s website log-in details or more controversially, to record someone’s web-browsing history to target personalized ads.

The French penalty underscores a broader shift in the digital ad industry as Google and Facebook, which dominate the market, and regulators in Europe and the U.S. work on phasing out more egregious data collection practices. Google has announced plans to phase out so-called third-party cookies used by advertisers from its Chrome browsers, though it will still be able to track users of its own services.

Source: Newsmax

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