French Data Protection Act

The French Data Protection Authority imposed a €280,000 fine for GDPR infringements and a €100,000 fine for violation of French cookie rules.

By Myria Saarinen

On 11 May 2023 the French Data Protection Authority (the CNIL) handed down its decision on the health website Doctissimo, imposing a €280,000 fine for the infringement of four provisions of the GDPR and an additional €100,000 fine for the violation of Article 82 of the French Data Protection Act (the French Cookies Rule).

Founded in 2000 by medical doctors, Doctissimo is one of the most widely visited health and well-being websites in France, with the majority of visitors located in France and Belgium. The website hosts articles, tests, quizzes, and forums related to health and well-being.

The French data protection authority’s decisions cite violations of the cookie rules under the ePrivacy Directive and provide important insights on explicit consent.

By Gail Crawford, Myria Saarinen, Tim Wybitul, and Wolf-Tassilo Böhm

Between December 2019 and May 2020, the French data protection authority (CNIL) conducted multiple online investigations by visiting google.fr and amazon.fr, before launching a full-scale investigation into Google LLC, Google Ireland, and Amazon Europe Core. On 7 December 2020, the CNIL handed down two decisions, one against Google LLC (€60 million fine) and Google Ireland (€40 million fine), and another against Amazon Europe Core (€35 million fine). Contrary to a previous sanction against Google LLC, which was triggered by specific complaints about its practices, the CNIL’s decisions indicate that the investigations were launched sua sponte with the specific aim of controlling the companies’ cookie practices.