France slaps Microsoft with €60m fine for placing ad cookies on users' devices ‘without their consent’

(Image credit: Davis Ramos (Getty))

France's privacy watchdog has fined Microsoft 60 million euros for imposing advertising cookies on its users.

As reported by France 24, the fine relates specifically to Microsoft's search engine Bing, which France's National Commission for Technology and Freedoms (CNIL) said was not set up to allow users to refuse cookies as simply as accepting them

The French regulator of personal data said that when users visited Bing "cookies were deposited on their terminal without their consent, while these cookies were used, among others, for advertising purposes." CNIL added further that there was "no button allowing to refuse the deposit of cookies as easily as accepting it."

The fine relates to data protection laws in the European Union that require websites to get consent from visitors before storing or retrieving any information on their digital device. As cookies are used to track online browsing, any website that uses them (which is basically all of them) fall within the remit of the law.

Recently, CNIL has been cracking down on big tech companies that breach these laws. Last year, the organisation handed out fines worth €210 million for the same issue of not allowing users to refuse cookies as simply as accepting them. In response to that fine, Google said it would rectify its practices, stating "We are committed to implementing new changes, as well as to working actively with CNIL in response to its decision."

Microsoft has not commented on the fine as of yet. But it has been given three months to fix the problem. If it fails to do so, it could face further penalties of 60,000 euros for every day the issue remains after the deadline.