The European Data Protection Board establishes new cookie banner taskforce

A new taskforce will begin looking at the vast number of complaints on cookie banners that have appeared the last year. The task will be to create best practices for dealing with cookie banner complaints.
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Taskforce will look at cookie banner complaints

At its last meeting, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) decided to create a taskforce to deal with cookie banner complaints.

This year the number of complaints towards websites’ use of cookie banners skyrocketed. Especially groups like NOYB (None of Your Business) filed hundreds of complaints against European businesses for using dark patterns and unlawful cookie banners.

The new taskforce will aim to promote the cooperation and information sharing between the European supervisory authorities (SA).

In particular, the taskforce will:

  • exchange views on legal analysis and possible infringements;
  • provide support to activities on the national level;
  • streamline communication.

Cookie banner complaints on the rise

This summer, privacy organization NOYB made the world of digital advertisers quiver. Filling 422 official complaints in one single batch, the organization made the attention of businesses and data protection bodies alike.

With thousands of new complaints towards European businesses’ use of cookie banners being forged as we speak, the load on national Data Protection Authorities has grown substantially.

One of the taskforce’s new chores will therefore be to figure out best practices for how these complaints are handled at a European level.

Cookie rules simplified

While we’re waiting for the ePrivacy Regulation – the final law on how to collect consent for cookies – we still look to both the ePrivacy Directive and the GDPR for guidance on how to collect valid consent for cookies.

When using cookies on a website, the rule of thumb is to ask for consent. This is why we saw the emergence of cookie banners a couple of years ago.

But with the GDPR also in play, the rules for consent have changed.

On October 1, 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled in the case against German lottery website Planet49, that visitors must be able to say no thanks to cookies and that the consent must be intentional.

That means no pre-ticked boxes or other measures to collect consent solely because the visitor uses the website or app.

Link: Valid cookie consent under the GDPR 

The next couple of months will reveal if the new taskforce helps streamline communication between data protection bodies and get to the bottom of all the cookie banner complaints.