Quietly, the European Union is moving toward broad privacy tightening of privacy on Internet applications, specifically in relation to advertising.
The European “Data Protection Working Party” is developing rules for online privacy, and one of the more commonly discussed elements of the new rules is the “cookie directive,” which would require all opt-in by consumers to accept a cookie.
This, of course, is a big change in the way online advertisers currently track your activity. They don’t need opt-in to insert a cookie in your browser.
Hammonds LLP offered some recent analysis on the new European directive and specifically how it relates to cookies:
“Opt-in consent to cookie use will mean just that. Advertisers will be required to give highly visible information to users as a pre-condition for consent to the cookies to be valid. Merely mentioning the practice of behavioural advertising in general terms and conditions and/or in privacy policies will not be enough. As a minimum, the user should be given information about who is serving and collecting data from the cookie, the fact that the cookie will be used to build profiles, the type of data that will be used to build the profiles, the fact that the profiles will be used to deliver targeted advertising and that the cookie may enable the user to be identified across multiple websites. The information should be displayed directly on the user’s screen. Advertisers will also be required to use icons on adverts indicating those which have been placed through targeted advertising.”
Now, imagine this gathers steam and comes to North America. Now, imagine all of the Interenet operations having cookies wiped clean and being required to get their consumers to opt-in on cookies. Seems to me like a lot of cookies would disappear!