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Published on July 12, 2021 AUTHOR - PRIVACY RESEARCH TEAM
On every website you ever visit, you probably have had to accept or decline certain cookies via a cookie notice or banner. Some of those cookies are there to track your browsing activities and can be traced back to your browser. They are also storing your data which can be seen as a threat if not secured properly. Global privacy regulations are coming up with rules for organizations to abide by when collecting personal data via cookies and processing these cookies for various purposes.
The GDPR focuses on organizations collecting freely given consent from their customers before they store or process any of their personal data, which includes dropping cookies on their website. Websites and apps that are used by visitors from the EU must implement a consent banner that complies with GDPR, and it has to have several pieces in place.
Under the GDPR, customers need to be fully informed about the types of cookies that are being stored and why they are being stored before the consumer can give them consent. Under the GDPR, consent needs to be:
The GDPR and e-Privacy Directive both aim to ensure an appropriate level of confidentiality and security of European Union Residents' data.
The e-Privacy Directive provides a guideline on cookies which is why it was originally known as the “cookie law”. This is not the case with the GDPR as it does not explicitly state any guidelines or requirements based on cookies. The e-Privacy Directive requires organizations to provide comprehensive and easily understandable information with regards to the processing of cookies. These organizations must acquire the informed consent of users before tracking them with cookies. Although the GDPR does not mention cookies specifically, it classifies cookies as an “online identifier,” meaning that it may be considered personal data under certain circumstances.
Read more about EU Cookie Laws
The E-Privacy Directive does not have a clear extraterritorial scope, which means that if a company does not have any physical presence or operation in the EU, they do not need to comply with the cookie guidelines.
Under Article 9 of the GDPR, sensitive data is defined as the following:
Although the GDPR does not talk about cookies specifically, it does mention “online identifiers under Article 4, recital 30 of the GDPR. The article states:
“Natural persons may be associated with online identifiers provided by their devices, applications, tools, and protocols, such as internet protocol addresses, cookie identifiers or other identifiers such as radio frequency identification tags. This may leave traces which, in particular when combined with unique identifiers and other information received by the servers, may be used to create profiles of the natural persons and identify them.”
The EU cookie legislation depends on the government to set specific penalties for noncompliance. Here are some of the penalties an organization can face due to non-compliance:
There are several ways in which an organization can simplify their compliance practices. Here are a few steps that can be taken in order to make this process easier.
Organizations will need to audit their databases for opt-in consent. The GDPR is an Opt-In consent regime and it is paramount to obtain explicit consent from an individual before processing their data.
For any new contact details, organizations need to ensure a process to gather the required level of opt-in for each new entry. GDPR stipulates that consent from consumers must now be gathered by them actively opting-in, rather than them having to opt-out.
Third-party access can be one of the major threats to compliance because your organization may get penalized for someone else’s negligence. It is important to review what third parties you share data with, how they use it, and what their GDPR policies are.
GDPR regulations require organizations to respond to a consumer’s "request for information" within one month at the latest.
Organizations are required under law to protect a consumer's data and obtain consent before collecting or storing any of this data. Securiti's PrivacyOps approach enables organizations to fulfill cookie requirements with the help of robotic automation and artificial intelligence. Here is how it can help:
Consumers' data being tracked by third-party entities via cookies can be deemed a privacy threat. Privacy regulations are in place to ensure that this data is handled in a safe and ethical manner, meaning nothing can be processed without the consumer's freely given consent. This will, in turn, protect the consumer's privacy and give organizations a reason to adopt a first-party approach when trying to obtain consumers' data.
Data is growing at an exponential rate, and keeping track of all this data is becoming a virtually impossible task with each passing day. Automation is necessary, now more than ever, for any organization that is hoping to comply with privacy regulations in a scalable way.
At Securiti, our mission is to enable enterprises to safely harness the incredible power of data and the cloud by controlling the complex security, privacy and compliance risks.
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