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Data privacy is a hot-button issue in today’s digital world. Cookies policies are an ePrivacy directive that requires companies to disclose how they utilize cookies on their websites. These documents may also require legal compliance in some regions, which means you should speak with internet lawyers to draft a well-written agreement.

There are several legal implications associated with a cookies policy. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know.

What is a Cookies Policy?

Cookies policies are documents that inform website or application users about how your company engages in data tracking and online privacy. A cookie is a digitally encrypted file that is stored on your devices and browsers that are read when you revisit a website. They help companies deliver a better web experience across all devices, mediums, and visits.

Common examples of cookies policy use include:

  • Remembering items in a digital shopping cart
  • Saving customer language preferences
  • Using analytics to track internet market data
  • Retargeting ads to social media visitors
  • Offering CMS logins or blog commenting capabilities
  • Installing tracking pixels from third-party services

Some locations require you to use cookies policies, while others do not. However, some companies are taking a “better safe than sorry” approach when it comes to using website cookies. Managing your legal requirements conservatively can help you prevent an issue from arising in the first place.

Here is an article that goes deeper into Cookies.

Purpose of Cookies Policy

The purpose of a cookie policy is to communicate to consumers regarding how you store cookies on their devices. Some geographic regions and nations require you to explicitly explain your cookies policy, while others are still developing legislation. However, companies may want to utilize cookies policies regardless of legal compliance to foster greater transparency between a website owner and users.

Why You Need A Cookies Policy

You need a cookies policy to let customers know how you use their data. It is a responsible business practice. However, some countries have taken proactive measures to ensure that companies comply with data privacy directives. Their requirements are strict, which means that you should familiarize yourself with the rules before engaging in eCommerce activities beforehand.

Consider the GDPR and CCPA compliance initiatives below.

GDPR Compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) obligates you to provide a cookies policy if you store and use cookies on European Union (EU) audiences. You must let EU visitors know that you are using cookies to track and collect their data, which was a huge component of this 2016 legislation.

The most significant requirement of the GDPR cookies policy includes the use of a cookies banner. You have likely noticed them on nearly every website you visit in recent years. Your cookies banner must feature certain elements to achieve compliance.

Cookies banners compliance requirements include:

  • Requirement 1. Link to your cookies policy
  • Requirement 2. Option to opt-in or opt-out
  • Requirement 3. Acting in good faith to opt customers out
  • Requirement 4. How you deploy cookies
  • Requirement 5. How you handle third-party data sharing

The cookies banner must be conspicuously located and communicate a crystal clear message. You should not try to hide your cookies banner or make it ambiguous regarding what options the consumer has available. Companies can encourage the use of necessary cookies only by offering people this option as well.

CCPA Compliance

The California Consumer Privacy Law (CCPA) protects website and application users from companies storing cookies on their devices without consent. These cookies often contain tracking scripts and collect identifiable information, also known as unique identifiers. Consumers in California have legal rights when it comes to their personal data.

Consumer rights under the CCPA include:

  • Right to opt-out
  • Right to be informed
  • Right to disclosure
  • Right to deletion
  • Right to equal services and prices

California does not require that all companies comply with the CCPA. You must follow the guidelines if any of the following conditions are true:

  • Condition 1. Gross revenue exceeding $25 million
  • Condition 2. Sells to more than 50,000 households
  • Condition 3. More than 50 percent of revenues come from selling data

There are differences between the CCPA and GDPR that are worth noting. Let’s take a closer look.

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CCPA vs. GDPR

The CCPA approaches ePrivacy directives differently from the GDPR. The GDPR focuses on collecting consent before using the website, whereas the CCPA allows unrestrained collection so as long as consumers have a way to opt-out.

Another difference lies within the scope and depth. California sets limitations on cookies policies as described above, and the GDPR applies them uniformly to all businesses, regardless of their location. Be aware that you do not have to follow these rules if specific criteria are met.

Other State Regulation

As cookies laws and policies gain traction in places like Europe and California, it may take time to see other geographic locations and industries follow suit. Regardless of location, you must remain compliant when serving customers in regions with cookies policy legislation.

There are fines and penalties associated with a violation. For example, a single GDPR can result in fines exceeding $20 million per instance. Avoid making a costly mistake altogether by discussing cookies policy compliance with technology lawyers.

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What’s Included in a Cookies Policy?

Cookies policies have similar components to other contracts. However, cookies policies contain additional provisions related to the use and storage of cookies on a consumer’s computer, cell phone, or web browser. Your internet lawyers will help you determine if your cookies policies are website-ready and for consumer use.

The elements of a legally compliant cookies policy include:

  • Element 1. Cookies acknowledgment statement
  • Element 2. Cookies disclosure statement
  • Element 3. Intent for use statements
  • Element 4. Instructions for disabling cookies
  • Element 5. Company contact information

It is wise to draft consumer agreements, such as cookies policies, in simple terms. Complex contract language tends to confuse people, and they may not be able to find the information they need. Keep your cookies policies and other cookies-related documents as simple as possible to prevent potential misunderstandings.

Other Cookies Related Documents

A cookies policy is not the only document that you need to remain ethically and legally compliant online. You may want to work with technology lawyers to review your online presence, website, and backend to help you determine the other cookies-related documents you need.

Other cookies-related documents include:

If you need advice regarding what other cookies-related documents your company needs, speak with data privacy lawyers. They ensure that you avoid making legal mistakes with websites when it comes to consumer online privacy.

Cookies Policy vs. Privacy Policy

There is a significant difference between a cookies policy vs. privacy policy. A cookies policy addresses how you use cookies and third-party services. In contrast, a privacy policy addresses how your company stores and uses consumer data. Privacy policies are subject to GDPR and CCPA compliance.

If you need legal advice regarding your cookies policies and other cookie-related documents, consider hiring technology lawyers to offer legal advice.

Writing a Cookies Policy

Online agreements, like Cookies Policies, are best left to experts that understand the way browsers, software, and online marketing works, as well as being familiar with global data privacy laws. Post a project on ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to get bids from vetted technology lawyers that can help.

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