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What Cookies Are and What They Do

Cookies are user text files stored in your browser that allow you to improve your website, obtain useful information about traffic and user behaviour, optimise your website for a specific target group or personalise the content of your ads. For example, cookies allow you to see how many times a user has visited your site, where they came from, or whether they have used any of your website’s features to create an overview of their behaviour or a long-term profile that allows you to target their preferences.

Amendment to the Electronic Communications Act

As of 1 January 2022, a key amendment to the Electronic Communications Act came into force, making it mandatory for website operators to store cookies only with the active consent of visitors. This means that the change applies to all websites that collect any data that can be used to evaluate user behaviour.

Until the end of 2021, the website owner could approach the collection of cookies with relative freedom. All you had to do was notify your visitors that you were using their cookies and you were done. Unless the site visitor expressed their explicit disagreement. From the new year, however, visitors must be asked what data you may collect about them and must be able to actively choose what kinds of information they want to provide to your site about their behaviour and what they do not. So the process is actually reversed and you need the user’s explicit and informed consent to store their cookies. However, if the visitor does not give you consent, you will lose traffic data and will not be able to create statistics, your website will not be able to remember and adapt to the user, and you will not be able to reach the user back through remarketing.

Platforms for Managing Consent to Cookies

The easiest way to resolve the situation is to implement one of the cookie consent management platforms. These are self-service cloud-based ePrivacy services that enable automated GDPR compliance. These services are mostly based on scanning technology that detects and inspects all cookies used on your website, creates a corresponding cookie bar or pop-up based on them, and then automatically manages end-user consent.

The best known and most used of these platforms is definitely Cookiebot which we like to use both on our website and on our clients’ websites. However, alternatives such as CookieYes or Cookie Script. All of these platforms are based on a monthly or annual subscription, but all of them also offer a free version if your website does not exceed a certain number of pages. If you don’t know how to implement, email us. We will be happy to set up, configure and run one of the above services for you.

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