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Two big tech companies hear from France's privacy watchdog. A Polish leader acknowledges his government's use of NSO Group tools. And a lead-generation company settles with the FTC in a data misuse case. This is CyberScoop for January 7.

Zut alors! French regulator drops privacy fines on Facebook, Google

French privacy watchdog agency the CNIL hit Facebook and Google on Thursday with fines of nearly $70 million and $170 million respectively. The regulator dinged the two social media giants for making cookies harder to reject than accept. Because cookies store personal information, they can become a target for criminals seeking to hijack them and spy on users. Facebook said it was reviewing the order and Google said it was looking to make changes in response. Tim Starks has the story.

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Poland's top politician admits the government purchased NSO Group spyware

On Dec. 23, the Associated Press reported that a Polish senator, an independent prosecutor and a lawyer had their phones hacked dozens of times with Pegasus, the notorious spyware developed and sold by embattled Israeli firm NSO Group. Government officials at the time denied having access to NSO tools. The AP reported Friday, however, that the country's top politician, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, admitted the country had purchased the software, while denying that it was used for political purposes. The revelations are just the latest in the ongoing coverage of NSO Group's technology being used in illicit ways around the world. More from the AP.

Loan-application data case brings $1.5 million fine

California-based ITMedia Solutions LLC has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle charges from the Federal Trade Commission that the company and several affiliates allegedly misused sensitive financial information collected online from people who were looking for loans. The FTC alleged that “84 percent of the loan applications collected through these websites since January 2016 were not sold to lenders, but instead disseminated to an array of marketers, debt relief and credit repair sellers, and companies that would resell consumers’ information without regard for how the information would be used.” Read more.

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