Online Privacy News and Views
The use of device fingerprinting techniques, which are increasingly being employed as an alternative to cookies, should be treated by website owners as equivalent to cookies when it comes to the requirements for gaining user consent under the various EU cookie laws.
The recent cookie sweep conducted by French regulator the CNIL has caused an upsurge in interest and articles about complying with the EU cookie laws. We decided it was time to do produce some more substantial updated guidance.
There have been stories emerging this week of agreement being reached in The Netherlands for a relaxation of their implementation of the cookie law, which is likely to be welcomed by website owners.
Facebook has announced the launch of a new online advertising platform that looks set to take consumer tracking to a whole new level, and is likely to open up a new front in the battle for online privacy. It may also be in breach of EU marketing and privacy rules.
Facebook Like and sharing buttons have become pretty much ubiquitous on websites over the past few years. However, recent changes in policy at Facebook now has many websites concerned, and thinking about calling time on this strategy, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
The EU ePrivacy Directive, which gave rise to the current cookie laws in the UK and rest of Europe, is scheduled to be reviewed by the European Commission in 2015. This was revealed last week after the new Commission President elect, Jean-Claude Juncker published the Mission Letters written to his Commissioners.
In the last few days we have been making some significant changes to the way we recognise and record certain types of cookies in the knowledge base that powers our site all about cookies – Cookiepedia. The result has been a big re-calculation of the prevalence of different types of cookies on the websites we have scanned. In particular we now believe that the percentage of cookies involved in visitor tracking and targeting – nearly 60% of all cookies – is much more representative of the true picture.
Google has this week been told by Italy’s data protection regulator that it must get explicit consent from users to track them, particularly for behavioural advertising purposes.
Back in March we learnt that the CNIL had been given new powers to carry out online data protection compliance inspections, and we speculated that this might extend to checking for cookie consent. It has now emerged that this is exactly what they plan to do.
Efforts to create a standard for Do Not Track (DNT) browser requests have been going on for many years now, but just as the technical issues look like coming to an end, the real questions about its effectiveness for privacy are as unresolved as ever. Now, the Article 29 Working Party seem to be saying that form their point of view, it has been a massive waste of time.