Few topics in the world of EU data protection have generated so much debate, and so little understanding, as the change to the law on cookies. On 9 May the UK Information Commissioner issued some guidance on the new law, but anyone expecting clear instructions on how to achieve compliance will be very disappointed.
On December 13, 2010 a Federal District Court in Montana dismissed many of the claims brought against an ISP in connection with the ISP’s use of NebuAd monitoring technology. The court held that users had validly consented to the monitoring technology. The NebuAd case usefully focuses on the issue of user consent, rather than on technological distinctions between ISPs and service providers at the edge.
On 9 November, the European Data Privacy Supervisor (EDPS) issued a press release on the ePrivacy Directive. The EDPS titled its press release as “improvements on security breach, cookies and enforcement, and more to come.”
As reported in the press, “the Council of the European Union has approved new legislation that would require Web users to consent to Internet cookies.” But it is not quite as clear-cut as that quote suggests. The consent requirement relates cookies that collect personal data — an important qualification — and some cookies appear to fall outside of the consent requirement. We detail the fine points of what has happened in this blog entry.