France orders Google and Facebook to offer one-click cookie rejection

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French regulators today ordered Google and Facebook to make rejecting cookies as simple as accepting them and fined the companies a total of €210 million for failing to comply with France’s Data Protection Act.

The CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés) said that “facebook.com, google.fr and youtube.com offer a button allowing the user to immediately accept cookies” but “do not provide an equivalent solution (button or other) enabling the Internet user to easily refuse the deposit of these cookies. Several clicks are required to refuse all cookies, against a single one to accept them.”

The process making it harder to reject cookies than to accept them “affects the freedom of consent of Internet users and constitutes an infringement of Article 82 of the French Data Protection Act,” the CNIL said. The agency announced fines of €150 million for Google and €60 million for Facebook and said it “ordered the companies to provide Internet users located in France with a means of refusing cookies as simple as the existing means of accepting them, in order to guarantee their freedom of consent, within three months. If they fail to do so, the companies will have to pay a penalty of 100,000 euros per day of delay.”

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