European Court of Justice’s Ruling on Cookie Consent


On October 1, 2019 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has issued a judgment under Case C-673/17 on cookie consent. The request for interpretation of EU law was made by the Federal Court of Justice in Germany in relation to a court case between the Federation of Consumer Organisations in Germany (FOCG) and an online gaming company.

The major point of contention concerns the cookie consent of participants in a promotional lottery organized by the company on its website. The participants were provided with a preselected tick in a checkbox, which they could remove, if they did not agree with the use of cookies. FOCG challenged this form of consent as incompatible with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In its judgement the ECJ held that a preselected tick in a checkbox, where the website user shall deselect the checkbox in order to refuse his/her consent, does not comply with the GDPR requirements. In addition, the ECJ ruled that the information given to the web user shall be clearly comprehensible and sufficiently detailed to enable the user to comprehend the functioning of the cookies employed. The information shall also include the duration of the operation of cookies and whether or not third parties may have access to those cookies in order to ensure fair and transparent processing. The Court noted that the notion of consent should not be interpreted differently depending on whether the information stored or consulted on consumer’s terminal equipment constitutes personal data in order to protect the consumer from any interference with his privacy.

The judgement will have impact on the legal and technical ecosystem of cookies and will necessitate changes in how they are implemented across the European union.

For further information contact:

Dimitar Grozdanov, Senior Associate

Martina Dimitrova, Associate

This article has an informative purpose and is not representative of detailed legal advice. If you are interested in receiving advice in the context of a certain situation, we can happily assist you. The law firm is not responsible for any harm caused by acts or omissions undertaken due to this text.
©TBK, 2019


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