France’s Top Court Upholds Google’s Fine

Google’s bid to overturn a €100 million (US$114.4 million) French fine hit a snag after an aide to the nation’s top court backed accusations against the search engine over its cookies policy, reported Bloomberg.

The Alphabet unit has been embroiled in a court fight over the then-record fine in 2020 for targeting users with cookies without their consent and failing to offer a simple way to reject the tracking devices. Google was hit with a new record €150 million (US$171.6 million) penalty last week for still not allowing users an easy way out of its cookies.

But court adviser Laurent Domingo said at a hearing Wednesday, January 12, that the initial penalty was justified because Google “failed to abide” by its “obligations, even though these were clear.” 

He criticized Google for failing to seek the consent of google.fr users to place cookies on their computers or informing them adequately, and for having an inefficient mechanism to block these tracking devices.

European Union data protection regulators have gained unprecedented fining powers since the bloc’s so-called General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, took effect in May 2018, which allows them to levy penalties of as much as 4% of a company’s annual global sales. The latest Google fines are based on yet another set of rules regulating the use of online tracking devices and come amid a much fiercer climate of regulatory scrutiny of tech giants worldwide.

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