Google, Amazon fined $163M by French privacy watchdog

It said Google and Amazon also failed to provide clear information to users about the purposes of these cookies and how they might refuse them.
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France's data privacy watchdog said on Thursday it has fined Google 100 million euros ($121 million) and Amazon 35 million euros ($42 million) for breaching the country's rules on advertising cookies.

The CNIL said in a statement that the French websites of both companies did not request prior consent from internet users about trackers, or cookies, that were automatically saved on computers for advertising purposes.

It said Google and Amazon also failed to provide clear information to users about the purposes of these cookies and how they might refuse them.

The CNIL noted that both companies made changes to their websites in September, yet said efforts were not sufficient to be in line with French rules.

In the case of Google, it noted it had derived significant profits from the advertising income indirectly generated from data collected by the cookies and said that the practices affected almost fifty million users. The CNIL said the size of the fines was justified by the seriousness of the breaches.

The watchdog gave Google and Amazon three months to change the way they tell consumers how their data is used and how they can reject cookies. Otherwise, they will face an additional fine of 100,000 euros ($ 121,095) for each day of delay.

In another development, The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre, RBI, SEBI, IRDAI, and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on a PIL seeking a detailed legal framework for regulating operations of techfin companies such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon in India's financial sector space.

According to the petition filed by an applied economist, techfin institutions are technology, telecommunications or ecommerce companies, which have now entered the financial sector to provide financial services.

Petitioner Resmi P Bhaskaran, in her plea filed through advocate Deepak Prakash, has alleged that the "lackadaisical approach" of Indian financial regulators permits unregulated operation of techfin firms and claims that this could adversely affect the financial stability of the country.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

Edited by Megha Reddy

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