Category Cookies

What Is A Cookie Consent Opt-In?

Cookie consent opt-in forms are used to obtain consent from website visitors before enabling all cookies to act during a session. This is a necessary step that businesses must add to their websites under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

It upholds consumer’s rights to have control over the information that’s collected from them, limiting how businesses store, use, and sell their data. Through a cookie consent opt-in, consumers permit businesses to process their information through the use of website cookies, whether for functional analytics, marketing, or other related purposes.

Contact Ketch’s team of privacy experts today to learn more about a consent management solution for your business. 

What Are Cookies?

“Cookies” are texts that computers receive and send to track user activity. These are basic components of web browsing; developers use them to improve the online experience. However, depending on how cookies behave, they can also be a risk to user privacy. 

There are three main kinds of cookies:

First-Party Cookies

First-party cookies are created by and stored on the website or domain that a user is visiting. They are created to track user activity and preferences on a single website during a single session, optimizing the browsing experience. First-party cookies do not jump from one website or domain to another, and their work is done once the user terminates the session.

Second-Party Cookies

Second-party cookies aren’t technically a category of their own. These are just first-party cookies that are shared, exchanged, or sold between businesses under a data partnership or contract.

Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are created and set by programs not owned or controlled by the website or domain that a user is visiting. They’re often used for advertising, marketing, and re-targeting, and they’re often placed on advertisements. 

Third-party cookies track user activity from site to site over a long period. Third-party cookies are the kind that are often referenced in data privacy laws since these are the most invasive.

Why Do I Need To Use A Cookie Consent Opt-In Form?

Generally, cookies are harmless. A lot of them are used to optimize website functions, while others are used to personalize marketing efforts. 

But because cookies collect information that could possibly identify specific people, they can pose a risk to user privacy. They can be used to track a person without their consent—or worse, to steal sensitive information about individuals such as non-commercial data.

This is why data privacy laws implore businesses to obtain consent from users before employing cookies or to give consumers the option to opt out of the sale of any information collected from them through cookies. 

Businesses, then, must comply with set regulations to avoid hefty fines and the loss of businesses in key markets like Europe and the United States.

How To Get Consent From Users

To comply with the GDPR, businesses must obtain opt-in cookie consent from website visitors. To ensure this, it’s important to first block all cookies before getting consent by either turning off all cookies, hard-coding your website with cookie blocking scripts, or turning on cookie blocking plug-ins.

Then, you must add a cookie message to your website. A cookie message is a pop-up or banner that appears upon a user’s first visit to a site. It gives users the option to allow or deny the use of cookies on the site. 

It also provides details about the types of active cookies and their purpose, any third parties that may employ cookies on the site, and how consumers can customize the cookies enabled during their session.

Do Other Data Privacy Laws Require Cookie Consent Opt-In?

For businesses doing business in the United States, or at least in the state of California, websites must provide opt-out options, instead, under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It’s similar to opt-in cookie consent in that it provides the necessary information to consumers about cookies. But the option is given as to whether or not a user consents to the sale of their personal information collected by cookies. Just in case you are asking yourself: “do I have to comply with CCPA?”, click on the link to find out.

Conclusion: Give Consumers Control Over Cookies.

Data privacy laws can be confusing. But the safest practice is to comply with all regulations, ensuring that consumer rights are upheld and prioritized at every step. For businesses complying with the GDPR, this starts with obtaining cookie opt-in consent from website visitors. 

Meanwhile, for businesses under the CCPA, this begins with giving users the option to opt out of the sale of their information. Either way, what’s important is to give consumers the proper information about cookies and the avenue to control how their data is collected, used, and sold.

Do I Need A Cookie Policy On My Website?

Cookies are one of the first things that come to mind when discussing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Cookies collect information from people, and, under data privacy laws, businesses must inform users about these trackers and obtain their consent before setting them into action. 

Businesses—especially those operating in or with Europe or the United States, need to add a cookie policy on their website to comply with these regulations. 

What Is A Cookie Policy?

A cookie policy details all the active cookies on your website. It declares the purpose of the cookies, the data the cookies collect from users, and where the data is shared, transferred, or sent.

A cookie policy also contains instructions on how users can control cookies; they can either opt-out of cookies entirely or change their settings to only allow activity from specific categories of cookies.

What Should A Cookie Policy Include?

Data privacy laws list regulations that businesses must follow to uphold consumer rights. Based on the GDPR and CCPA, a cookie policy must declare the relevant information to enable users to control the personal data that cookies may collect, store, or sell. To be compliant, a cookie policy must include:

  • A list of all active cookies on the website
  • The purpose of the cookies (e.g. for functionality, statistics, marketing, etc.)
  • How long cookies persist on the user’s browser
  • Where data collected is sent or shared, including names of third parties involved
  • How a user can reject cookies
  • How a user can change the status of cookies

Why Do I Need A Cookie Policy?

A cookie policy informs users about the data that is collected from them and allows them to choose whether or not to allow these trackers to use their information. It is necessary to comply with international and local data privacy laws, preventing your businesses from paying hefty fines or losing business in key areas.

Since the GDPR is a law originating in the European Union (EU), you may wonder, does GDPR apply to non-EU citizens? If so, follow the link to see the answer.

Where Do I Put My Website’s Cookie Policy?

Your website’s cookie policy must be clear and conspicuous, which is why most businesses attach their policy to a cookie message that pops up during a user’s first visit to their site. It is either linked on the message to a stand-alone cookie policy page or attached to the website’s complete privacy policy.

How To Add A Cookie Policy To My Website

The first thing that you must do to add a cookie policy is to identify all the cookies that live on your website, including those that are enabled by third parties present. Cookies are different from one website to another, so it’s essential to pinpoint the ones active on yours to create a specific and accurate cookie policy. Also, you should know the difference between your first-party cookies and second and third-party cookies.

After listing all active cookies, you must create a policy that details the purpose of each one, what data they collect, store, use, or sell, and how users can opt-in or opt-out of them. You can find templates for these online. But it’s good to review the regulations set by the GDPR and the CCPA to make sure that everything’s done by the book.

Add your cookie policy to your website by either creating a dedicated page for it or including it in your privacy policy. Finally, link it to your cookie message so that users see it as soon as they visit your page and can provide you with prior consent before the cookies even start tracking information.

Cookie Policies Are Essential

All websites that cater to consumers in Europe and/or the United States need a cookie policy in their website to comply with data privacy laws. That said, it’s good practice for all businesses to comply with the GDPR and the CCPA, especially since international markets are taking steps to put more value on data privacy.