Cookies & tracers: what does the law say?

In application of the European directive known as the "telecom package", Internet users must be informed and give their consent prior to the insertion of trackers. They must have the ability to choose not to be tracked when they visit a site or use an application. Publishers therefore have an obligation to seek prior consent from users. This consent is valid for a maximum of 13 months. However, certain trackers are exempt from obtaining this consent.

What does the term “cookies” or “trackers” mean?

This concerns tracers deposited and read, for example, when consulting a website, reading an email, installing or using software or a mobile application, regardless of the type of terminal used such as a computer, a Smartphone, a digital e-reader and a video game console connected to the Internet. If they meet certain conditions, certain trackers deviate from this obligation

As such, the term “cookie” covers, for example:

  • HTTP cookies
  • “flash” cookies,
  • the result of the fingerprint calculation in the case of “fingerprinting” (calculation of a unique identifier of the machine based on elements of its configuration for tracking purposes),
  • invisible pixels or “web bugs”,
  • any other identifier generated by software or an operating system, for example.

These obligations apply whether cookies collect personal data or not.