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Do I need a cookie policy on my website?

Cookies are one of the first things that come to mind when discussing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Cookies collect information from people, and, under data privacy laws, businesses must inform users about these trackers and obtain their consent before setting them into action.

Businesses—especially those operating in or with Europe or the United States, need to add a cookie policy on their website to comply with these regulations.

What Is A Cookie Policy?

A cookie policy details all the active cookies on your website. It declares the purpose of the cookies, the data the cookies collect from users, and where the data is shared, transferred, or sent.

A cookie policy also contains instructions on how users can control cookies; they can either opt-out of cookies entirely or change their settings to only allow activity from specific categories of cookies.

What Should A Cookie Policy Include?

Data privacy laws list regulations that businesses must follow to uphold consumer rights. Based on the GDPR and CCPA, a cookie policy must declare the relevant information to enable users to control the personal data that cookies may collect, store, or sell. To be compliant, a cookie policy must include:

  • A list of all active cookies on the website
  • The purpose of the cookies (e.g. for functionality, statistics, marketing, etc.)
  • How long cookies persist on the user’s browser
  • Where data collected is sent or shared, including names of third parties involved
  • How a user can reject cookies
  • How a user can change the status of cookies

Why Do I Need A Cookie Policy?

A cookie policy informs users about the data that is collected from them and allows them to choose whether or not to allow these trackers to use their information. It is necessary to comply with international and local data privacy laws, preventing your businesses from paying hefty fines or losing business in key areas.

Since the GDPR is a law originating in the European Union (EU), you may wonder, does GDPR apply to non-EU citizens? If so, follow the link to see the answer.

Where Do I Put My Website’s Cookie Policy?

Your website’s cookie policy must be clear and conspicuous, which is why most businesses attach their policy to a cookie message that pops up during a user’s first visit to their site. It is either linked on the message to a stand-alone cookie policy page or attached to the website’s complete privacy policy.

How To Add A Cookie Policy To My Website

The first thing that you must do to add a cookie policy is to identify all the cookies that live on your website, including those that are enabled by third parties present. Cookies are different from one website to another, so it’s essential to pinpoint the ones active on yours to create a specific and accurate cookie policy. Also, you should know the difference between your first-party cookies and second and third-party cookies.

After listing all active cookies, you must create a policy that details the purpose of each one, what data they collect, store, use, or sell, and how users can opt-in or opt-out of them. You can find templates for these online. But it’s good to review the regulations set by the GDPR and the CCPA to make sure that everything’s done by the book.

Add your cookie policy to your website by either creating a dedicated page for it or including it in your privacy policy. Finally, link it to your cookie message so that users see it as soon as they visit your page and can provide you with prior consent before the cookies even start tracking information.

Cookie Policies Are Essential

All websites that cater to consumers in Europe and/or the United States need a cookie policy in their website to comply with data privacy laws. That said, it’s good practice for all businesses to comply with the GDPR and the CCPA, especially since international markets are taking steps to put more value on data privacy.


Privacy Tech
October 27, 2021

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