Cookies: why the GDPR consent boxes on your favorite sites have suddenly changed

If you browse the web today, you may notice a change in the sites. Most of them have been forced to modify their consent messages which are displayed on the first connection.

Since the implementation of the GDPR in 2018, this consent is necessary if the publisher wants to use advertising trackers, such as cookies. But there has been debate on how this consent should be obtained. In October 2020, the CNIL issued new rules which apply from today, April 1, 2021. These rules follow a decision of the Council of State of June 19, 2020 and the CNIL intends to apply them to the letter.

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Thus, the mere pursuit of navigation can no longer be considered a valid expression of consent. This must result from a clear and positive act (“I accept”), and on the basis of complete information on the purposes of the cookie and its origin. Moreover, the refusal must be as easy as the acceptance, and therefore be at the same level. There is no longer any question of repurposing this choice in a sub-menu that is difficult to access. Finally, the Internet user must be able to withdraw their consent easily and at any time.

The webmasters, in motion for several weeks, could draw inspiration from a few examples provided by the CNIL, where the Internet user generally has the choice to “accept everything”, “refuse everything” or to personalize his choices.

Obviously, the editors are not obliged to scrupulously respect these models, but must respect the principles stated above. Otherwise, they risk being pinned, because the CNIL has announced checks.

Faced with these new restrictions, some publishers have adopted new strategies. On Lemonde.fr, the refusal has for example the consequence of displaying a banner at the bottom of the screen to encourage the Internet user to subscribe. At Allociné or Jeuxvideo.com the Internet user has the choice between “Accept and access for free” or “Access for 2 €”. But beware, this does not mean that we are released from the advertising. “Advertisements will always be visible when you access the site”, specifies Allociné. The difference is that this ad will no longer be targeted.

Are you worried about this? Know that Allocine is probably within his rights. In June 2020, the Council of State had challenged the CNIL which wanted to ban cookie walls, that is, the privilege of denying access to someone who does not accept cookies. The CNIL warns, however: ” The implementation of a cookie wall is likely, in certain cases and under certain conditions, to infringe the freedom of consent. Thus, the legality of using a cookie wall must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.. ”

Source: CNIL

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