08 Jan 2022

Google fined for bad cookies practices

Google is handed a huge fine by French data regulator for breaching the spirit of GDPR

Why was Google fined by the French regulator

I don’t know how many readers of this article have actually tried to change Google’s default privacy settings. When you use Google search, or YouTube, Google brings up a screen which is intended to help you make the right choices about the permission you give Google to collect your private information.

Google offers easy life and a hard life. Which type of life would you choose?

You will get the easy life if you just click the “OK to all”, or “accept all” option. It would take less than a second to accept all Google’s default privacy settings, which means you will be able to peacefully proceed to your next super urgent Google search.

The hard life, on the other hand, is designed by Google for annoying people, like me, for example, who actually think that they can decide for Google what information to collect.

Each time you try to be clever and select what data Google can collect from you, you will get punished by Google with a long winded process that could take a few minutes to complete, where you will be able (or at least, you think you will) to restrict what data Google can collecting from you.

But the punishment does not end there because if you decline some, or all, of Google’s data collection options, Google will never forgive you and will take presenting the data collection options nearly each time you swich your computer or my mobile phone on.

Eventually, normal people would give up. After all, Google is a machine and we are only human. There is so much we can take. There are so many times anyone will be willing to tolerate being detained by Google for several minutes for the sake of stopping Google collecting some personal data, which Google would end up collecting anyway, one way or another.

Does the fine affect only Google operation in France

Yes. French people, as we all know, are very stubborn. So, the French equivalent of our Information Commissioner’s Office, The French National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL), just had  enough with Google’s box ticking and time wasting games and president Emmanuel has been saying for a while that he isn’t going to let big tech companies get away with ripping off consumers.

So in a remarkable decision, the French data regulator told Google that from now on, this has to stop, at least in France, and that Google must make opting out of data collection as easy as opting in.

In the meantime, Google needs to pay the French data regulator $169.5 million, or face having to pay extra $113,000 for each day Google delays payment. This decision only affects Google in France and it does not require Google to chance its cookies policy or practices in the UK.

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