France’s privacy watchdog said Thursday it has fined US tech giant Microsoft 60 million euros ($64 million) for foisting advertising cookies on users.
The French regulator said that after investigations it found that “when users visited this site, cookies were deposited on their terminal without their consent, while these cookies were used, among others, for advertising purposes.”
It also “observed that there was no button allowing to refuse the deposit of cookies as easily as accepting it.”
The CNIL said the fine was justified in part because of the profits the company made from advertising profits indirectly generated from the data collected via cookies — tiny data files that track online browsing.
Bing offered a button for the user to immediately accept all cookies, but two clicks were need to refuse them, it said.
The company has been given three months to rectify the issue, with a potential further penalty of 60,000 euros per day overdue.
The fine was issued to Microsoft Ireland, where the company has its European base.
In a statement Microsoft said that it had “introduced key changes to our cookie practices even before this investigation started.”
“We continue to respectfully be concerned with the CNIL’s position on advertising fraud,” it said, adding that it believes the French watchdog’s “position will harm French individuals and businesses.”