Category Archives: Cookies

As Datonomy reported (see below), Google has been fined by French and Spanish data protection authorities following almost two years of toing and froing with European data protection regulators over its consolidated privacy policy.  The tiny fines and are unlikely to change Google’s privacy practices. However, Google now has a larger headache to deal with following the judgment of Mr Justice Tugendhat in the English High Court, handed down yesterday (Judith Vidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc in the Queen’s Bench Division, Case number: HQ13X03128).  The claimants, represented by Olswang the lawfirm behind Datonomy, are a group of users of Apple's Safari internet browser.   The Safari users group claim that Google Inc illegally tracked and gathered information about their browsing activities by implementing a workaround to the default Safari browser block on third party cookies.  Under the Civil Procedure Rules (the procedural rules for parties to civil litigation in the English courts), the claimants needed the … Continue Reading ››

Earlier this week, a new set of online behavioural advertising (OBA) rules came into effect, aiming to secure transparency and control for web users. The new rules will be enforced by the ASA. As OBA is typically administered by the use of cookies, these rules supplement existing opt in and transparency rules for cookies under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (Regulations), which are enforced by the ICO.

As Datonomy readers are no doubt aware, OBA is a form of targeted advertising whereby third party advertising networks partner with websites from whom they collect data on users’ web viewing behaviour, in order to deliver them advertising that is more likely to be of interest. To illustrate by way of example, one of the Datonomy Home Team admits to being practically stalked by advertising for a particular brand of luxury handbag, as a result of … Continue Reading ››
The German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz) recently caused some amusement amongst the internet community. Despite long resistance from the state's Data Protection Commissioner Edgar Wagner, Rhineland-Palatinate finally went online with its own Facebook fan page in January – however, not without Mr Wagner imposing a "feedback-channel-ban" that requests all government agencies not to answer user questions on Facebook. Users who seek specific answers from the state government via its Facebook fan page are now referred to other ways of communication such as e-mail or the state's official websites. The motivation behind this is, of course, data protection. Mr Wagner wants to keep the state's fan page clear of any user interaction in order to avoid user data being generated by Facebook. According to Mr Wagner, Rhineland-Palatinate did not want to stay completely out of Facebook as the social network offered good opportunities to provide information to its citizens. The state's presence on … Continue Reading ››
Unlike in the UK, the implementation of the European Directive 2009/136/EC, also called Cookie-Directive, is not a major point of concern amongst e-commerce businesses in Germany. So far, the Federal government limited the implementation of the directive to amendments of the Telecommunications Act (TKG) that mainly covers the technical process of sending signals and the telecommunications market regulation and sees no need to amend other German legislation due to the directive. In the TKG draft amendment, government stated that individual questions such as the amendment of Art. 5 para 3 of directive 2002/58/EC are still subject to a consultation process on the European level including self regulation solutions by the advertising industry, and that they intend to wait for the results of this consultation process before amending any laws. The Ministry of Economics takes the view that an opt-in solution is already realised by sec. 12 para 1 and 2 … Continue Reading ››
Datonomy can empathise with anyone tasked with making their organisation's website compliant with the cookie consent rules. Here we share our own experiences,  review the latest guidance from the ICO and take a look at some of the compliance mechanisms appearing  on other UK websites. Stop press – revised guidance from the ICO on implied consent The ICO marked the end of its year long enforcement amnesty by refreshing its guidance.  On 25 May it launched: The clear message from the ICO is that, although non compliant businesses must now take action, the emphasis should be on "good" rather than "rushed" compliance solutions.   The most … Continue Reading ››
Facebook encounters more and more problems with Germany's Data Protection Commissioners. Only last month, the Data Protection Commissioner of Schleswig Holstein, Thilo Weichert, announced proceedings against public authorities and companies in Schleswig Holstein that use Facebook’s Like-Button on their websites (see Datonomy post of 6th October). Mr. Weichert criticised that the Like-Button enabled Facebook to track users even if they had not clicked the button. Now, Johannes Caspar, Hamburg's Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) has conducted an investigation into Facebook's use of cookies, which enable Facebook to recognise its users even if they are not logged in or if they visit a third party website that uses an embedded Like-Button. According to Caspar, Facebook had reasoned that it uses cookies mainly for security reasons, such as youth or password protection. However, the Commissioner claims that this was essentially not true as most functions were optional and only … Continue Reading ››
At a recent roundtable  event hosted by Olswang LLP, Datonomy heard a range of perspectives on the new cookie consent requirements.  Readers can find useful resources from the event via the right menu below (scroll down to  "Cookie resources")  including the headline comments from our panel of speakers. Over 30 in house counsel from a range of consumer facing businesses – all getting to grips with compliance with the UK's new rules – attended the breakfast seminar.  Recognising that the legal world is now sick  of cookie puns, croissants were on the breakfast menu instead. The UK regulatory perspective was provided by Dave Evans, Group Manager at the Information Commissioner's Office. The clear message to UK website owners, echoing the ICO's recent guidance, is that doing nothing and hoping a browser-based consent solution will come to the rescue is simply not an option.  Businesses should be analysing the cookies on their websites, informing … Continue Reading ››