Extract from an article by Daniel Felz
Google-Style GDPR Fines for Everyone? Bavarian DPA Conducts Website Cookie Practices Sweep, Announces Fines under Consideration
As has been widely reported, in late January the French privacy supervisor CNIL fined Google €50 million for privacy violations relating to targeted marketing using Android user data. One of the core violations the CNIL found was that Google’s Android user interface did not obtain effective, GDPR-compliant consent to targeted marketing from users. The amount of the Google fine startled many companies, but with time the shock faded. Google was seen as a special case, and a number of companies began to presume that, while scrutiny of targeted online marketing may pick up, “we’re not Google or Facebook” – so that run-of-the-mill cookie and online-advertising practices would not create a significant enforcement risk in the near term.
This perception might require reevaluation. Today, the Data Protection Authority (DPA) of the German state of Bavaria announced it was considering fining a number of companies under the GDPR for their website cookie practices. None of these companies appear to be in Google-style tech industries. The Bavarian DPA’s action potentially signals that cookies, user tracking, and online advertising are not a ‘tech industry issue,’ but instead a priority issue for companies irrespective of their industry – and one that can carry GDPR fine risk.