Tuesday 15 October 2013

More cookie consent guidance from the EU

A new “working document” from the Article 29 Working Party has plopped into my inbox. If you’re aiming to design a website that would be legally compliant across all EU member states, then this 6 page thingy is one to ponder over. I’m not sure why it’s not called an opinion. Then again, Article 29 Working Party opinions are generally pretty large documents. How could any decent eurocrat possibly write an opinion that covered all the views of all the relevant Article 29 working party members in just 6 pages?

For those that don’t have the time to read it themselves, this document offers views on precisely what specific information about cookies should be published on websites, a reminder that consent needs to be given before cookies are set or read on websites, views on what sort of active behaviour the consumer must do in order to show they have consented to them, and a reminder that consumers should (somehow) be given the choice to accept or reject each cookie.

It goes without saying that the EU website the Article 29 Working Party’s working document is posted on does not appear to comply with all these rules. I haven’t yet found the gizmo that lets me choose precisely which EU cookie may be set on my laptop.  If anyone knows where it is, please let me know.

What other opinions are being prepared?

A quick squint at the agenda for the Working Party’s meeting on 2-3 October indicates that an opinion on legitimate interests, and advice on the data protection implications of remotely piloted aircraft systems, is on its way.

Mmmmmm. They could be a fun read. 

And also, somewhat intriguingly, work on "PRISM and possible similar intelligence programmes" is being carried out. Given that issues relating to national security are usually beyond the competence of the EU, it will be interesting so see what can be agreed on in this area. I do, however, find myself agreeing with some of Commissioner Reding's remarks back in July: "The fact that the programmes are said to relate to national security does not mean that anything goes. A balance needs to be struck between the policy objective pursued and the impact on fundamental rights. It is a question of proportionality."