What Is A Cookie Consent Opt-In?

By Ketch / October 31, 2021

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.

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