French Supreme Court carries massive $114 million fine against Google

Google’s plan to overturn a French fine of 100 million euros ($114 million) reportedly hit a snag after an adviser to the French Supreme Court backed allegations against Google’s cookie policy. Google was hit with a then-record fine in 2020 for using cookies to track users without their permission, and for failing to provide an easy-to-use way to deny tracking.

But court adviser Laurent Domingo said at Wednesday’s hearing that the original fine was entirely justified because Google failed to comply with very clear obligations. He criticized Google for failing to ask users for permission to install cookies, for failing to adequately inform them, and for failing to provide an efficient mechanism to block this type of tracking.

Since the European Union’s General Data Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018, EU data protection regulators have been given unprecedented powers to fine, up to 4% of the violating company’s annual global sales. But the fine against Google is based on a different set of rules that govern how online devices are used and comes at a tougher regulatory environment for the global tech giant.

Moreover, the French administrative court is expected to rule in the Google case in a few weeks. Google’s lawyers said French regulators had no jurisdiction over the case and asked the European Court of Justice to clarify the issue. Google declined to comment on the case. Mountain View, Calif. attorney Patrice Spinosi also criticized French privacy agency CNIL for being “sloppy”. 

He noted that the decision to investigate Google’s cookie policy was made on Sunday, and officials verified the following Monday, a day after France began its nationwide lockdown in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.


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