France fines Microsoft 60 million euros for advertising cookies

The Microsoft Store is seen in Manhattan, New York, United States on October 22, 2022.

Beata Zawrzel / Getty Images

France’s privacy watchdog said Thursday it has fined US tech giant Microsoft 60 million euros ($64 million) for imposing advertising cookies on users.

In the largest fine imposed in 2022, the National Commission for Technology and Liberties (CNIL) said that Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, had not established a system that allowed users to reject cookies as simply as to accept them.

The French regulator said that after investigations it found that “when users visited this site, cookies were deposited on their terminal without their consent, while these cookies were used, among others, for advertising purposes” .

He also “observed that there was no button that made it as easy to refuse the deposit of cookies as to accept it.”

The CNIL said the fine was partly justified by the profits the company made from advertising profits generated indirectly from data collected through cookies, small data files that track online browsing.

The company has three months to solve the problem, with a possible additional penalty of 60,000 euros per day of expiry.

Last year the CNIL said it would carry out a year of controls against sites that do not follow the rules for the use of web cookies.

Google and Facebook were sanctioned last year by the CNI with fines of 150 million and 60 million euros respectively for similar breaches.

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