French authorities ordered US tech giant Microsoft to pay €60 million ($64 million) after being found guilty of violating local regulations. The country’s privacy watchdog, the National Commission for Technology and Liberties (CNIL), imposed a fine for Microsoft’s misuse of advertising cookies.
When a user visits a website, a web server creates and transmits a user’s web browser one or more “cookies,” which are little informational files. They are commonly utilized for marketing and to customize the user experience.
In a statement, CNIL said that Microsoft’s Bing search engine does not allow users to opt-out of cookies easily enough. An investigation by French officials concluded that cookies were stored on their terminals without their consent when users visited this site. The watchdog added that these cookies were used, among other things, for advertising purposes. Additionally, the CNIL discovered that there was no option that made rejecting the placement of cookies as simple as accepting them.
The watchdog explained that Microsoft received a third share of profits from third-party advertising, which was accumulated through data collected through cookies. Microsoft now has three months to bring its services into line with French regulations. If it fails to do so on time, it faces an additional fine of €60,000 for each day of delay.
Last year, the CNIL fined Google and Facebook €150 million and €60 million, respectively, for similar violations. Microsoft has faced numerous investigations in the EU over the past decade, resulting in fines totalling €2.2 billion.