The era of cookies is coming to an end


BGH ruling on the use of cookies is a wake-up call to all website operators
The era of cookies is coming to an end

The BGH ruling on the use of cookies is a wake-up call to all website operators who have so far not obtained user consent for analysis and marketing cookies, says Olaf Brandt from etracker. He is certain that the cookie era is coming to an end.

By Olaf Brandt, Managing Director of etracker GmbH


With yesterday's judgment, the Federal Court of Justice is paving the way for more privacy on the Internet. At the same time, it is a wake-up call to all website operators who have so far not obtained user consent for analysis and marketing cookies.

In the case of the online competition provider Planet 49, the BGH made it clear on the one hand "that the consent of the user is required for the use of cookies to create user profiles for the purposes of advertising or market research". On the other hand, he pointed out that a preset checkbox does not represent effective consent. Hopefully annoying and nonsensical references to websites will soon be a thing of the past, as they are still common today.

The current BGH and previous ECJ judgment were long overdue. It should have been clear to everyone that not deselecting previous fields or continuing to use a website does not mean real voluntary and informed consent.

The new guideline of the European Data Protection Board (EDSA) as the highest body of the European supervisory authorities of May 5, 2020 provides even more clarity. Accordingly, blanket, undifferentiated approvals for several purposes are also invalid - just like consent pop-ups that contain the content of Hide websites or dialogues that make it more difficult to refuse than to accept.

Why are cookie banners on the Internet?


But why is the Internet teeming with cookie banners that are more like forced consent than a decision made at will?


The problem: Legally compliant consent is very difficult to obtain. A study by the Ruhr University in Bochum shows that if tracking complies with the law, only 0.1 percent of all users would actively consent to the use of third-party cookies. Due to the obligation to provide information and actively obtain user consent, the database is suffering enormously.

This result is likely to cause a lot of headaches for those responsible for marketing, because anyone who tries to obtain valid consent will hardly have any data available due to the high number of rejections.

It is now clear at the latest that the cookie era is coming to an end. Website operators have no choice but to avoid opt-in tracking and to finally say goodbye to cookies.

The good news: Web and marketing analysis is also possible without cookies. Whoever positions himself correctly does not have to accept painful compromises and risks in terms of data protection or the database. Ultimately, users will also thank them if the annoying cookie banners disappear once and for all.

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