Two Tech Giants are now obliged to pay $163 million fines over Privacy Breach that was filed against them a few months ago.
Amazon and Google have been charged to pay $163 million over Privacy Breach specifically in the unauthorized use of web cookies to track user activities. CNIL, the France’s data privacy regulator has mandated Google and Amazon with fines of €100 million ($121 million) and €35 million ($42 million) respectively.
$163 Million Fines: The Reasons
According to France’s regulatory authorities, both companies have used web cookies solely for commercial purposes without asking users’ content. The recent fine charges are actually has been doubled from the recent fine that both companies were given. For the reason that this is attributed to the grievance of the breach plus the amount of money both companies have been using for advertising.
However, according to some reports, Amazon and Google have already redesigned their sites in September 2020 to remove the offending cookies.
With the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was released in May 2018 has skyrocketed the powers of the bloc’s privacy enforcers. Under the regulation, serious breaches of privacy can lead to fines of as much as 4% of a company’s annual global revenue.
Just this Wednesday, Arizona lawyer General Mark Brnovich sued Google for allegedly collecting smartphone users’ location data. The said lawyer filed a case against Google under the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act (A.R.S. §44-1521 et seq.) in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Following this lawsuit, Brnovich claimed that Google used deceptive and unfair practices to obtain users’ location data which are used for their advertising. The AG particularly said that Google derived a vast majority of their profits from advertising and in such a way, deceived device owners about the protections afforded to their data. Thus, breaching Arizona consumer protection laws that prohibit companies from misinterpreting their business practices.
While Google users are led to believe they can opt-out of location tracking, the company exploits other avenues to invade personal privacy,” Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a press release.
“It’s nearly impossible to stop Google from tracking your movements without your knowledge or consent,” he said, adding that “even the most innovative companies must operate within the law.”
Arizona is pursuing Google to forfeit any profits they made as a result of the alleged private data collection, payback consumers, and pay the state up to $10,000 in fines per violation. This is not the first time Google has faced legal scrutiny over how they collect and use data.
In general, they have a feature in their Android that allows users to turn off a feature that tracks their movements. However, the state alleged in its devices still recorded and kept location records for certain apps even for users who disabled location tracking.