Posted by Esha Kumar on 8 April 2019

BigData and privacy breaches are no joke.

Following the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal and the recent developments in GDPR,  tensions about collecting personal information online have come under the spotlight.

As the owner of a startup or small business, it is very likely that you’re thinking about setting up a website for your company.

So, it’s important for you to know whether you need a cookie pop up, to let your website visitors know that you may be collecting some of their personal information.

What Exactly Is A Cookie?

Very much unlike the sweet treat, online cookies are small bits of data that are stored on your computer.

Many websites use cookies to retrieve personal information about the person browsing so their online experience can be tailored to them.

Online businesses often use cookies to make a website more accessible to the user, or to do targeted advertisements.

Sound slightly invasive to you?

This is exactly why you must consider the privacy issues associated with the use of cookies, and why you may need a cookie pop-up on your company’s website.

How Does The Law Regulate Cookie Use?

Currently, Australia does not specifically regulate the use of cookies.

The closest thing we have are the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and they only apply to cookies in the following situations:

  • The website collects personal information from anyone but the person browsing
  • If the person browsing does not know that their personal information is being collected

But, Australian law does not require websites to specifically have a cookie pop-up asking users whether or not they consent to the use of cookies during their browsing experience.

That being said, it might be a different story if you have users overseas. With the introduction of the GDPR rules in May 2018, Australian websites need to be aware of how the use of cookies may affect the privacy rules under these new regulations.

GDPR Compliance And Cookie Use

The rules introduced under GDPR mean that Australian websites must be aware of these new rules affecting the personal information of website visitors from the European Union.

Cookie rules under the GDPR say that a person browsing your website can be identified using “cookie identifiers”.

So, when cookies on your website collect the information of the person browsing, this would be  considered as “personal information”.

This data falls under the regulations of the GDPR and is the reason why your website should include a cookie pop-up to abide by the regulations.

To be able to comply with the new rules, websites, even those in Australia, might need to ask their users to consent to the use of cookies on the website.

This is where cookie pop-ups for your business website come into the picture.

What Should My Cookie Pop-Up Include?

A cookie pop-up on your website should include:

  • Information telling the user that your website is using cookies
  • The option to accept or decline the use of cookies

The GDPR also requires websites to allow their browsers to opt-out of the use of cookies as well.

You can include a pop-up on your website by simply having a banner at the bottom of the window telling the user that the website uses cookies and also provide them with the opportunity to decline or accept the use of cookies.

By doing this, you will be complying with the GDPR regulations as you are making users aware that their information is being collected and being used for business and advertising purposes.

What To Take Away…

As a startup or small business owner, you will probably have a website for your company.

Data collection and privacy standards are becoming more of a concern for consumers following the introduction of the GDPR rules early last year.

To avoid any issues when it comes to privacy breaches or data collection, it might be a good idea to consider placing a cookie pop-up on your website.

If you have any questions when it comes to GDPR compliance or whether you need to include a cookie pop-up on your company’s website, feel free to get in contact with us, we are here to help!

Need help with legals for your online business?

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Esha Kumar

Esha is a marketing assistant at sprintlaw. She has experience in both the media and legal industries and is currently completing her Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney.
Esha Kumar

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