The CNIL imposes a fine of 60 million euros on Microsoft

Posted Dec 22 2022 at 15:52Updated 22 Dec. 2022 at 16:36

Like several Gafa in recent months, Microsoft has not escaped a fine from the CNIL for its cookies. The American computer giant has been fined 60 million euros for not allowing Internet users to refuse cookies in a simple way on its Bing search engine.

In a press release on its decision, the French policeman for the protection of privacy explains that when a user went to Bing.com, a “cookie with several purposes, including the fight against advertising fraud [comme la consultation des annonces par des robots, NDLR], was automatically deposited on his terminal without action on his part”. Moreover, when he continued to browse the search engine, a cookie with an advertising purpose was placed on his terminal, again without his consent having been obtained.

The commission also noted the absence of a button allowing to refuse the deposit of cookies as easily as to accept it. “The conditions for collecting consent that were offered to users until the implementation of a ‘Refuse all’ button on March 29, 2022, constituted a violation of the law”, says the CNIL. She carried out several checks on the website in September 2020 and May 2021.

Other similar sanctions against Google and Facebook

This is the largest fine imposed since the end of 2021 by the CNIL, which has launched a major campaign of checks against sites that do not comply with the rules on cookies (small computer files which are mainly used to record the activity of Internet users for advertising purposes, in particular to send personalized advertising).

Already, this independent administrative authority had pronounced sanctions against Google and Facebook at the very end of last year – precisely, fines of 150 million and 60 million, noting here too that these groups did not allow not allow French Internet users to refuse cookies as easily as to accept them. In the past, Google had already been sanctioned,just like Amazon, at the end of 2020.

The CNIL justified the amount of 60 million euros by the scope of the data processing, the number of people concerned and by the profits that the company derives from the advertising revenues indirectly generated from the data collected by the cookies. It could issue a fine of up to 2% of worldwide turnover.

The organization is also asking for rapid compliance and has adopted an “injunction under penalty” so that the company collects on the Bing.com website, within three months, the consent of people residing in France before filing on their terminal cookies and trackers for advertising purposes. Otherwise, Microsoft will be liable to pay a penalty payment of 60,000 euros per day of delay.

The CNIL specifies that the operations related to the use of cookies come under the the ePrivacy directive, transposed in article 82 of the Data Protection Act.

Fraud concern

For its part, Microsoft responds through the voice of a spokesperson: “Even before the start of this investigation, we fully cooperated with the CNIL and introduced key changes to our cookie practices. We are nevertheless concerned by the position of the CNIL on advertising fraud and believe that it will harm the general public as well as French companies by contributing to the generalization of online fraud. »

In particular, the company claimed that when the advertising purpose of this cookie was not activated, it was used for the detection and filtering of advertising fraud concerning non-targeted advertisements.

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The CNIL imposes a fine of 60 million euros on Microsoft


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