Hardly any internet user is unfamiliar with them, the so-called cookie banners. What is less known, however, is how important these protection on the internet. Simply agreeing without reading is therefore not right…

Cookie banners raise questions

Many internet users and website operators are annoyed, reports digital association Bitkom. Website operators must introduce processes and forms for their web offerings in order to be allowed to use cookies in the future. The reason: website providers are only allowed to set all cookies that are not considered absolutely necessary with active consent.
For internet users, this means that more and more cookie banners are appearing on websites, where users can give or refuse consent to cookie use. The data protection supervisory authorities have received an increasing number of inquiries from citizens about what cookie banners are all about and how they should behave.

Cookie banners do not always have to be

Rheinland Pfalz´s data protection commissioner, Professor Dieter Kugelmann, explained: „The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has clarified in a ruling that for cookies that are not required to provide the website or app, active consent from website visitors is required in all cases.“ For the user, this has data protection advantages: Every user can now find out what usage information the provider wants to collect. Each and every person can consent to this data collection or reject it. This means that internet users can decide for themselves what data website operators process about them.
For technically necessary cookies, providers do not have to ask users for their express permission. These can be cookies that ensure that in an online store the shopping cart remains assigned to the user while he continues to shop or continues shopping later. Other cookies may only be used if the user has given what is known as „informed consent“. If this is not the case and the cookie is used without effective consent, the data processing is illegal. The data protection supervisory authorities can then prohibit it and impose fines.

Take cookie banners seriously

So as an internet user, don’t be bothered by cookie banners, but take a positive view of transparency and freedom of choice. However, there are also cookie banners that promise more than they deliver. For example, website operators are not allowed to set cookies until the user has given consent, neither before nor without consent. In fact, however, there are still many cookie banners that ask for permission but do not wait for or respect the decision.
The data protection authorities carry out appropriate checks on websites to protect the privacy of internet users. Therefore, as an internet user, deal with cookie banners consciously. „A few more clicks, but also much more self-determination. Informational self-determination is an important right: everyone should be able to decide for themselves what personal data they want to disclose about themselves and who is allowed to use it,“ is Prof. Kugelmann’s advice, which you should take to heart as an Internet user.

Do you use cookie banners to your advantage? Take the test!

Question: Cookie banners are an obstacle to online shopping. Is that true?

1. no, because if cookies are necessary for the shopping cart function, there is no need for cookie banners.
2. yes, if you don’t agree, you can no longer store in the online store.

Solution: Answer 1. is correct. Cookies that are functionally required, as with the shopping cart in an online store, do not require consent. However, cookies that an online store wants to use to create a user profile of the customer’s surfing behavior do require consent. As a user, you should carefully consider whether you want this or not.

Question: Cookie banners prevent any online tracking. Is that true?

1. yes, where the banners appear, there is no tracking of user activity.
2. no, sometimes the cookie banners for tracking cookies are missing, sometimes the banners do not work properly.

Solution: The answer 2. is correct. There are already many cookie banners, but not all of them are complete in the information. Partially, cookies are also already set before you consent or even though you object. However, this does not make cookie banners superfluous, but it shows how important properly implemented cookie banners are and how important it is to deal with them consciously. Simply agreeing all the time should not be part of daily practice, even on the Internet; data protection on the Internet is crucial. Use your freedom of choice and inform yourself about the planned data processing. It’s about your own privacy, which can suffer from secret online tracking.