Why in News:
- Google and Facebook were hit with a combined 210 million Euros fine for not complying with France’s data privacy law. The country’s data protection authority, CNIL, said that Facebook, Google’s French homepage and YouTube websites failed to provide its users a ‘disable’ cookies option similar to the enable button.
What are cookies
- Cookies and web beacons are electronic placeholders that are kept on your device by websites to track your specific movements on that website over time. They are useful to a limited extent to individual users. For example, cookies retain login details for quick retrieval next time the user logs back in. But they also extensively track people’s digital footprint and share browsing details with advertisers.
- HTTP cookies, or Internet cookies, have become an essential fixture of the modern Internet, and are a necessary part of web browsing. For developers, this tracking tool is a way to customise and personalise their interface for users. But they pose a threat to user privacy.
- Using cookies, websites remember the user , user login credentials, browsing history, and sometimes peep into e-commerce shopping carts. The data these cookies gather is largely used by advertisers and marketers to place and sell their products online.
- Most cookies are perfectly safe, and are generated by the websites themselves to enhance their page’s performance. These are usually harmless, and are commonly called necessary cookies.
- Third-party cookies are more troubling as they are placed by companies that do not own the website the user is accessing. For example, a student may be surfing an educational website that contains advertisements of various other companies. These advertisers can deploy relevant cookies to track the user’s digital footprint.
Why was the fine imposed?
India and cookie laws
- India should draft rules to protect its citizens from being stalked by large tech firms, which control a significant part of the digital space.
- India has no comprehensive personal data protection at the moment.
- The draft Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP), 2019, is also not up to the mark on regulating cookies.
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