One part of the GDPR references how natural persons may be associated with online identifiers including but not limited to Internet protocol addresses and cookie identifiers. Essentially, when cookies can actually identify an individual through their respective device, it will be considered personal data and subject to GDPR. What this means is that websites need to comply with the following regulations:
- Implied consent is no longer sufficient. Consent must be given through a clear affirmative action, such as clicking an opt-in box or choosing settings or preferences on a settings menu. Simply visiting a site doesn’t count as consent.
- ‘By using this site, you accept cookies’ messages are also not sufficient for the same reasons. If there is no genuine and free choice, then there is no valid consent. You must make it possible to both accept or reject cookies. This means:
- It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it. If organizations want to tell people to block cookies if they don’t give their consent, they must make them accept cookies first.
- Sites will need to provide an opt-out option. Even after getting valid consent, sites must give people the option to change their mind. If you ask for consent through opt-in boxes in a settings menu, users must always be able to return to that menu to adjust their preferences.