Microsoft sentenced to a hefty fine in France for a case of cookies

JVTech News Microsoft sentenced to a hefty fine in France for a case of cookies

Manipulating how cookies are imposed on visitors to a website can be costly. In this case, Microsoft will have to pay a fine of 60 million euros to the Cnil, for having sought to manipulate the acceptance by Internet users.

When we talk about cookies on the Internet, we are not talking about the delicious chocolate chip cookies that we all love: we are talking about small files that are saved on an Internet user’s computer when he visits a website. 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requiring website administrators to inform their visitors about the presence of cookies on their domains.

The objective is to allow Internet users to know what they are facing when visiting the site : often it is the registration of advertising cookies that allow the display of targeted ads. The visitor can then accept cookies, or refuse them. In theory, it’s simple, but in practice, it gets complicated.

Microsoft is trying to play with cookies, but…

The Bing search engine, owned by Microsoft, took a long time to comply with the GDPR rules. And the Cnil realized it. The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés is responsible for enforcing the regulation in France, and it found that this was not the case for Bing in September 2020 and May 2021.

In a press release published on December 22the CNIL explains that “When a user went to this site, cookies were placed on their device without their consent while they were pursuing, in particular, an advertising objective. She also noticed the absence of a button allowing to refuse the deposit of cookies as easily as to accept it. »

These two findings go against the GDPR. First of all, the site must wait until the Internet user has given (or not) his consent before possibly placing cookies on his computer. Next, accept and decline options must be at the same level. “Two clicks were necessary to refuse all cookies, only one to accept them”notes the Cnil, which therefore considers that saying “no” was more complex than saying “yes”, which aimed to “discourage users from refusing cookies”.

Microsoft ordered to pay 60 million euros

According to the CNIL press release, he will have waited until March 29, 2022 for Bing to have a “Decline all” buttonthus offering Internet users the possibility of refusing cookies from the search engine in bulk. Too late for the organization, which therefore decided to sanction Microsoft.

The amount of the penalty is 60 million euros. Added to this is a request for compliancebut it has already been carried out by Microsoft: the American company should therefore avoid late penalties, set at 60,000 euros per day, if that had not been the case by next March. This will not prevent Microsoft Ireland Operation Limited from having to take out the checkbook to pay its fine to the CNIL.

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