France’s privacy watchdog has imposed a €60 million ($63.88 million) fine against Microsoft’s Ireland subsidiary for violating the laws when they dropped cookies onto users’ computers to advertise their services without first obtaining explicit consent, while Europe or the EU was abiding by Data Protection Laws.
The Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des libertés ( CNIL ) noted that there was no easy way for internet users to deny Internet service providers access through cookies when visiting the home page of their Bing search engine.
Based on a complaint received in February 2020, an online audit of the tech giant was conducted from September 2020 until May 2021. During this time period, cookies were loaded onto devices without obtaining permission from users beforehand as required by law.
Alongside this fine, Microsoft will have to alter its current policy of accepting cookies in three months’ time. Failure to comply would result in an additional €60,000 charge each day they don’t follow the order by law.
Microsoft told the Wall Street Journal that it has added an option to reject ad cookies to Windows 10. This was done after Microsoft experienced numerous complaints about how refusing such ads violated privacy policies. They are concerned, however, that this could also lead people who are trying to commit fraud with advertising.
CNIL has levied new fines against large technology companies such as Google and Facebook in what appears to be a broad-scale crackdown on Silicon Valley giants. The order, which follows similar monetary penalties issued by CNIL last month against Alphabet and Mepa platforms in France, was announced during a press conference on (January 31st).
Last month, the regulator also fined France’s power company Électricité de France (EDF) and chat service provider Discord for violating GDPR policies regarding data retention and security protection.