French data watchdog imposes 10 million euro fine on Yahoo! over cookie policy

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PARIS (Reuters) -French data watchdog CNIL said on Thursday it had imposed a 10 million euro ($10.86 million) fine on U.S. web services provider Yahoo! for failings linked to the company's cookie policy.

The watchdog accused the company of "failing to respect the choice of Internet users who refused cookies on its main website and for not allowing users of its e-mail client to freely withdraw their consent to cookies".

Yahoo EMEA Ltd., the Ireland-based European subsidiary formally subject to the fine, is reviewing the decision to decide on "appropriate next steps", it said when contacted by Reuters.

The French regulator said its investigation found around 20 cookies, small amounts of data used for advertising purposes, were left on an user's device when visiting, despite the absence of any expressed consent.

Concerning Yahoo!'s e-mail client, the CNIL found users could not withdraw their consent for cookies without giving up their access to the company's messaging service.

($1 = 0.9206 euros)

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel, Jaspreet Singh;Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Barbara Lewis)