Google eventually gave in.
Sentenced in January to a heavy fine by the French personal data regulator, Google announced Thursday that European users of its platforms could now refuse the deposit of “cookies” and the tracking of their navigation with one click.
“We have carried out a complete overhaul of our approach, in particular by modifying the infrastructure that we use to manage cookies”, writes the American giant in a blog post.
Concretely, the banner presented during a first visit to its platforms, and in particular to the YouTube video streaming site, will now make it possible to refuse the use of “cookies” for targeted advertising and content personalization with a single click.
Google had pledged in January to change its practices, after being sentenced by the Cnil, the French personal data policeman, to pay a fine of 150 million euros and to make changes within three months, under penalty of paying a fine of 100,000 euros per day of delay.
“These changes have consequences”
Facebook had also been fined 60 million euros and now displays a button to allow “only essential cookies”.
Google's update has started rolling out in France on YouTube and will gradually roll out to all of its platforms in the European Economic Area (European Union, Iceland, and Norway), the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.
“These changes have consequences, not only on our search engine and on YouTube, but also on the sites and content of creators who rely on cookies to grow their business and generate revenue”, underlines Google, which tries to develop new tools to preserve its advertising-based business model, while complying with new regulatory requirements.
Since the entry into force of the European regulation on personal data (GDPR) in 2018, websites are required to comply with stricter rules to obtain the consent of Internet users before depositing their “cookies”.
The Cnil had recently indicated that it had sent around 90 formal notices to website publishers since the end of its tolerance period.
In the case of the sanctions imposed on Google and Facebook, it called into question the contrast between the ease with which Internet users accept “cookies” and the difficulty in refusing them.
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