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How to block cookies before consent

For data privacy laws to be effective, businesses must comply with regulations that ensure the safety of people’s personal information. This starts with obtaining consent from visitors to your website or app to collect, store, or manage their data.

Website cookies can complicate this, though, since some of them are set into motion even before getting permission from a consumer.

That said, there are ways to block cookies before consent is requested, either by turning cookies off completely, hard-coding your website to control cookies, or using data privacy services that help you manage how cookies behave on your website.

Another step you need to take at the same time is to add a cookie message to a website or app, but that topic is addressed in another article.

What Are Cookies?

Cookies are files of data that computers receive and send to track users’ information and activity. It’s an essential component of web browsing; developers use it to create a better online experience and advertisers use it to infer consumer preferences for more effective marketing

Generally, cookies are harmless. But depending on the type and amount of data harvested from a consumer, they can pose a risk to privacy.

Cookies can be used to track a person without their consent—or worse, to steal sensitive information such as ID and financial details. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is very clear on the types of personal data that should be protected.

It might be a good idea to check the CCPA’s personal information guidelines since additional states are expected to pass similar laws in the future. Businesses must pay attention to how cookies behave on their websites, and it seems wise to not only comply with current privacy laws but to also be prepared for future legislation ahead of time.

What Is Prior Consent?

Prior consent refers to the act of obtaining consent from a person before allowing any cookies into their device except those needed for the website to function. This means that you have to prevent cookies (or any other online tracking devices) from collecting personal data until a user agrees to that collection.

Why Do I Need To Get Prior Consent?

Some data privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deem it illegal for businesses to process personal information before getting consent from a consumer to do so. So websites aren’t allowed to set any data collecting processes (such as cookies) in motion without prior consent.

How To Block Cookies Before Consent

A website that blocks cookies before consent contains scripts in their source code that prevent any cookies from being placed in a user’s device to collect their personal information until after the user explicitly agrees to it.

There are three basic ways to ensure that your website is compliant with this part of the data privacy laws:

Turn Off All Cookies

One way to make sure users’ personal information isn't collected without their permission is to stop all tracking tools completely—basically, turning off all cookies.

But while this method is easy, it robs your website of any cool features and widgets. It also prevents you from getting insights into who your customers are.

Hard-Code Your Website

Website developers can hard-code sites to have full control over how cookies are placed in users’ devices. They can identify the cookies and create scripts to block them before obtaining consent from users.

That said, this can be a difficult task, especially since it involves pinpointing multiple trackers and possibly making individual scripts for each one.

Use Ketch

With the Ketch experience server, you can consolidate and customize consent requirements into customized privacy experiences-  all with a few clicks. No hard coding or data collection blocking workarounds required.

All you have to do is add the Ketch tag to your website; then you can begin to customize cookie preferences and how you obtain consent from users. Learn more here.

Privacy Tech
October 3, 2021

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