Regulators in France have hit Microsoft with a €60 million fine for not giving users a way to opt-out of cookies when using the Bing search engine. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft must also pay €60,000 per day if it does not get user consent to use an ad fraud detection cookie.
CNIL, the data protection regulator in France, says Microsoft has not given users enough choice on Bing. Microsoft is conceding and paying the fine, while also providing an opt out option for cookies on the search engine.
However, the company has not made a decision on whether it will comply with the ad fraud detection cookie consent. A spokesperson for the company says it is “concerned with the CNIL's position on advertising fraud” because these cookies “shouldn't require consent by those intending to defraud others.”
Microsoft could now choose to appeal the fraud detection cookies decision, but if not will either need to comply or pay the daily fine. If the company does appeal and loses, Microsoft will be forced to ask users for consent to use the cookie.
While Microsoft has been in trouble amongst European regulators, it is not on the scale of rivals like Google. In September, Google was hit with yet another anti-trust fine by the European Commission, this time totaling €4.5 billion.
In 2017, Google was forced to pay $2.7 billion for breaching competition laws around its shopping search results.
Microsoft's fine comes as Facebook (Meta) agreed to pay $725 million to settle a class action lawsuit looking at its role in the Cambridge Analytics data privacy scandal. It has been four years since Facebook was found to be allowing third parties to access user data without consent.
While regulators continue to clamp down on misbehaving tech companies, consumers are not free from scrutiny. In fact, this week the UK governments Intellectual Property Office (IPO) warned customers that password sharing on Netflix and other streaming services is illegal.
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