Data privacy monitoring in France strengthens consent rights over ad trackers

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People watch the data on their mobiles in the background with internet cables on the switching hub are shown in this image taken on May 30, 2018. Photo taken on May 30, 2018. REUTERS / Kacper Pempel / Illustration

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s data privacy watchdog, CNIL, on Thursday recommended that websites operating in the country keep a register of internet users’ refusals to accept online trackers called cookies for at least six month.

By specifying a registration deadline, the directive goes beyond the EU-wide data privacy rules adopted two years ago, adding an additional hurdle that a data protection lawyer says would bankrupt some of the companies using such tools.

Under the CNIL directive, which the watchdog said should be adopted by March, internet users have the right to withdraw their consent on cookies – small data stored while browsing the web – to any time and they can decline trackers when they continue. a website.

“The silence of the Internet user in fact implies a refusal (to accept cookies),” said Etienne Drouard of the American-British law firm Hogan Lovells.

“But the CNIL imposes the recovery of a refusal and (recommends) that this refusal last six months”, he said, foreseeing that this stipulation would mark a “death sentence” for certain publishers, media, video platforms on demand and advertisers.

The repository applies to all companies offering services in France or based in the country, said the CNIL, which has the reputation of being a fervent defender of the right to data confidentiality.

He also said internet users should be able to easily reconsider any initial consent to cookies through a web link or icon that should be visible on all pages of the site.

The authority added that users must be “clearly informed” of the end use of trackers before seeking their consent. Websites should also tell internet users which entities would collect the data.

The legality of the use of “cookie walls”, which prevent Internet users from entering the site without having previously accepted cookies, must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, specifies the CNIL.

Report by Mathieu Rosemain; edited by John Stonestreet

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