Microsoft sentenced by the Cnil to a fine that it can repay in a few hours

The Cnil announced that it had sanctioned Microsoft to pay a fine of 60 million euros. The company is doomed because it has not put in place “a mechanism to make refusing cookies as easy as accepting them” on its Bing search engine. A fine that represents a drop in the ocean of profits made by Microsoft.

Almost a year ago, the Cnil sanctioned Facebook and Google with record fines: respectively 60 and 150 million euros. The reason: Facebook, Google and YouTube did not allow ” to refuse cookies as simply as to accept them “. It’s Microsoft’s turn to get its hands on the wallet for the same reason because of its Bing search engine.

A fine of 60 million euros for Microsoft

In a press release published today, the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (Cnil) ordered Microsoft to pay a fine of 60 million euros. The CNIL explains that it carried out several checks on the website (Bing) between September 2020 and May 2021 “, ” a following a complaint relating to the conditions for the deposit of cookies on “” “.

According to his findings, cookies were placed by Bing on the devices of its users without their consent while they continued to browse. Also, the button to refuse the installation of cookies was not as accessible as the one to accept it.

It took one click to accept cookies, but two to decline them. A practice which obviously aims to discourage Internet users from refusing the installation, which represents, according to the Cnil, a ” violation of the freedom of consent of Internet users “. This breach of Article 82 of the Microsoft Data Protection Act was charged on March 29, 2022.

Bing asks for the user’s consent before the deposit of cookies // Source: Frandroid

In addition to this, the national commission realized that a cookie for the purposes of ” fight against advertising fraud “was automatically dropped on the user’s device” no action on his part as soon as he connected to it. Worse still, she says that when we continued sailing, ” a cookie pursuing an advertising purpose was deposited “, again without consent. A deposit that is actually a violation of the law since the entry into force of the GDPR in 2018.

The summary of the case // Source: Cnil

Following this fine, the Cnil says to enjoin Microsoft to eliminate on Bing, within three months, ” the consent of people residing in France before placing cookies and tracers for advertising purposes on their terminal “. She announces that if the company does not do this, it exposes itself ” payment of a penalty payment of 60,000 euros per day of delay “.

60 million euros: it’s not much for Microsoft

The CNIL ” has justified this amount by the scope of the processing, by the number of data subjects and by the benefits that the company derives from the advertising revenue generated by data provided by the cookies “. According to Microsoft itself, Bing represents in France (as of June 2022) 478.1 million PC searches per month and 18 million unique users. Still on the PC, the company prides itself on having a 20.4% market share in online research.

In 2021, Microsoft across all businesses generated $70 billion in profit, or $191 million per day and $7.9 million per hour. Suffice to say that this CNIL fine is only a drop in the bucket compared to what Microsoft has created, even by relating this to Bing’s activity in France. In addition, Microsoft account enforces the buyout of Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion., the fine is only 0.009% of the buyout amount.

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