Internet users must actively consent to use of cookies, EU court rules

Several of the largest Internet companies such as Facebook, currently have implicit cookie consent, where by using the site, consent is deemed to have been given. (AFP)
Updated 01 October 2019

Internet users must actively consent to use of cookies, EU court rules

  • Ruling stems from a 2013 case when the German Federation of Consumer Organizations took legal action against online lottery company Planet49

BRUSSELS: Internet users must actively consent to companies storing cookies that are used to track online browsing behavior, the European Court of Justice said on Tuesday in a ruling that could significantly affect ePrivacy regulation.
The ruling stems from a 2013 case when the German Federation of Consumer Organizations took legal action against online lottery company Planet49, which had a pre-ticked checkbox to authorize the use of cookies.
The cookies — data sent from a website and stored on a user’s computer — collected information to help target advertisements for products offered by Planet49’s partners.
The consumer organization argued this was illegal because the authorization did not involve explicit consent from the user.
The German Federal Court of Justice asked for guidance from the EU’s highest court to rule on the case in relation to EU laws on Internet privacy. The EU court sided with the German consumer group, saying EU law aimed to protect consumers from interference with their private lives.
“A pre-ticked check box is therefore insufficient,” the court said in a press release, adding that cookie consent must be specific and explicit and that clicking a button to participate in a game or browsing a website, and through that allowing cookies, was not enough.
The Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law at the University of Oslo said in a statement that the ruling is “likely to have a significant impact on the ongoing negotiations on the ePrivacy regulation which is set to regulate cookie usage.”
Several of the largest Internet companies, such as Facebook and Twitter currently have implicit cookie consent, where by using the site, consent is deemed to have been given.
Facebook and Twitter were not immediately available for comment.
The case predates General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — the May 2018 Internet privacy regulations that stipulate how companies must inform users about how their personal information is gathered.
The EU court also ruled that service providers had to fully inform users, including how long the cookies would operate for and whether third parties would have access to gathered data.


World should back Vision 2030 strategy says global risk guru

Updated 22 November 2019

World should back Vision 2030 strategy says global risk guru

  • Ian Bremmer: When I see how much more dynamic Riyadh is compared to two years ago, it’s really undeniable that they are actually trying to modernize society
  • Bremmer: They are hosting the G20, and that could help to make them confident enough to push forward on a resolution to the Qatar issue

BEIJING: The world should back Saudi Arabia’s transformation strategy under Vision 2030 despite the challenges the Kingdom has faced, according to Ian Bremmer, one of the leading political risk advisers in the world.

“When I see them moving toward Saudization, when I see how much more dynamic Riyadh is compared to two years ago, it’s really undeniable that they are actually trying to modernize society. I think that’s really important and we should all be rooting for that process to continue,” he told Arab News on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing.

He said that the ongoing reforms in the Kingdom were helping it rebuild its international reputation following criticism over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year. “They are hosting the G20, and that could help to make them confident enough to push forward on a resolution to the Qatar issue.”

“It would be nice if there could be some reduction in the problem with Qatar, and some reintegration of the GCC, and there has been some progress toward that. The fact that we have a peace deal in south Yemen, that will make a difference too, and hopefully it will reduce some of the tension with Iran as a consequence,” he added.

Bremmer was speaking about climate change and other issues at the forum, at a session that acknowledged the difficulty of meeting targets to get rid of fossil fuels by the year 2050. He also talked about the looming “technology wars” between China and the US.