Google, Amazon fined $218m by French data privacy watchdog

Google was hit with a €100 million penalty, while Amazon was fined €35 million by French data protection authority CNIL.
Google was hit with a €100 million penalty, while Amazon was fined €35 million by French data protection authority CNIL. PHOTOS: AFP

PARIS (BLOOMBERG) - Google racked up another record European Union fine, this time a €100 million (S$162 million) penalty from France's privacy watchdog over the way it manages cookies on its search engine.

CNIL, France's data protection authority, also slapped online shopping giant Amazon with a €35 million fine for placing cookies, which are tracking devices, on people's computers without their consent, according to a statement on Thursday.

The companies were given a three-month ultimatum to make changes to the information they provide to users, or face additional daily fines of €100,000.

The Google penalty is double CNIL's previous highest fine, also for the Alphabet unit. The company has also faced intense scrutiny from the European Commission, having been fined more than 8.2 billion euros in three antitrust cases.

EU data protection regulators' powers have increased significantly since the bloc's so-called General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, took effect in May 2018. The law allows watchdogs for the first time to levy fines of as much as 4 per cent of a company's annual global sales.

But the latest fines were levied based on French rules regulating firms' use of cookies and other tracking devices.