French Regulator Fines Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine For Forcing Users To Accept Cookies

Leading software giant Microsoft has been granted a hefty fine of $64 million for forcing users into accepting advertising cookies.

The fine comes from a leading privacy watchdog in France which says there was no system in place which allowed users to opt out of the cookies option. It simply told them they had to accept it and didn’t allow for an option comprising ‘NO’.

This is definitely the largest fine imposed for 2022 as they claim forcing people to simply accept cookies is a clear violation. Moreover, they spoke about how they had conducted a series of investigations to figure out the reality of the situation, and when a user visited the site, they were bombarded with cookies without any prior consent given. The cookies were found to be engaged in advertising purposes.

The French regulator has gone on to justify the behavior further. He said the firm was making immense profits through the likes of advertising via these cookies that indirectly generated revenue thanks to data collection of users. Cookies are the name given to small-sized files that track users’ browsing actions online.

While it’s true that Bing did offer a button to the user visiting its site to accept all the cookies, two clicks were required if you wished to refuse it.

Now, Microsoft is being allotted a timeframe of three months to fix the error and a further penalty comprising 60,000 Euros each day would be given when overdue.

The fine was seen being granted to the likes of Microsoft Ireland where the firm has a European base. But Microsoft is not backing down silently.

It went on to speak about how it brought forward some key changes in terms of its cookie practices, right before such an investigation began. Moreover, they are super concerned about the allegations being brought forward against the firm.

It similarly could be seen calling out the French watchdog’s position and saying such a stance would harm both people in France and their respective businesses.

Microsoft similarly outlined the key roles of cookies for various platforms in the tech world as it helps to make the whole process of advertising so much more personalized. After all, it’s the main form of revenue for companies like Facebook and Google. But for a while now, those advocating for privacy have taken a step back and disagreed.

Ever since the EU became active in 2018 and laid out stricter laws against the use of personal data, so many firms have gone on to face strict rules that make platforms take consent from the users before allowing for cookie installation.
Let’s not forget how the French watchdog has similarly placed sanctions on the likes of Facebook and Google with massive fines detailing to be $160 million for breaches of a similar kind.

On the other hand, both of these leading tech giants are also being scrutinized regarding the practice of allowing personal data from EU citizens to flow into the servers belonging to those in America.

Meta who is the owner of WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram was blasted this past month by another watchdog in Europe for conducting targeted advertising practices. But it failed to delineate more on this ruling as well as the fines that had been outlined.

This is a prime example of a case that follows plenty of complaints made by Noyb, a leading group for privacy campaigns. It called out Meta for stating how three apps failed to meet the strict rules and regulations of Europe regarding data protection.

Read next: Apple Blocked Access To Apps In Russia And Hong Kong To Gain Profits, Confirms New Report
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