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Google hit with record $121 million privacy fine in France

Published: Updated:

Google racked up another record European Union fine, this time a 100 million-euro ($121 million) penalty from France’s privacy watchdog over the way it manages cookies on its search engine.

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CNIL, France’s data protection authority, also slapped online shopping giant Amazon.com Inc. with a 35 million-euro 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 euros.

The Google penalty is double CNIL’s previous highest fine, also for the Alphabet Inc. 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 percent 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.

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