Illustration of cookies on a laptop saving user data

Why does your website need a Cookie Popup?

Almost every website you visit has a pop-up of some sort when you load it for the first time. It asks you to confirm whether or not you are happy with the use of cookies. Many people just click ‘Allow All’ to make it go away and get on with using the website.

What is a cookie, why do you need to confirm that you’re happy with them and what are the consequences of not having a cookie consent mechanism?

What is a website cookie?

Web browsers store small pieces of data that refer to functions and connections on the websites you visit. They can be used to remember your preferences, keep you logged into services or track your behavior on the website, or across multiple websites. They’re one of the reasons you see adverts on other websites for things you’ve viewed somewhere else. They can be useful and helpful, but sometimes intrusive and annoying.

Since cookies can track your behaviour and essentially take information about you and your preferences from one site and use this information elsewhere, concerns about privacy resulted in laws being passed about how personal data is handled through cookies.

Understanding Cookie Compliance in Europe

When it comes to websites in Europe, cookie compliance is a legal requirement under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Any website that uses cookies to store user data must comply with the GDPR, which means that they need to provide users with clear and accurate information about the cookies they use, and obtain user consent before storing any cookies on their device. Your website should also have a Privacy Policy easily available that includes how cookies are used and how you handle and manage user data.

Without a cookie pop-up, your website runs the risk of not being compliant with GDPR requirements. This can result in significant fines and reputational damage. Implementing a cookie pop-up that blocks cookies before the user has accepted them provides added protection for users, ensuring that their data is only used with their explicit consent. A cookie pop-up is an essential element of any website that collects user data through cookies.

If your website has interactive features you will need to have a cookie control mechanism. These features include (but are not limited to):

  • the capacity for you to log in
  • analytic packages that store and analyse user data (eg. Google Analytics)
  • eCommerce
  • Chat facilities

If your website has any interactivity for users and doesn’t currently have a cookie pop-up with a cookie consent mechanism that allows users to choose the level of cookies they are happy with, you need to install one as soon as possible. You also need to make sure that before the cookie choice has been made by the user, only cookies that are essential for the site to function are active, and all other cookies are blocked.

The cookie pop-up should also give a link to your Privacy and/or Cookie Policy, and list which cookies are used on the website and the general purpose of each.

If you would like to know more about cookies on your website, whether or not your website is compliant with GDPR regulations, or if you’d like us to make your website compliant, please get in touch. We’d be happy to help.