"Cookies" and your legal obligations

Created: Thursday, 19 January 2017 Written by Saskia

What Are Cookies?

Cookies are pieces of data, normally stored in text files, that websites place on visitors' computers to store a range of information, usually specific to that visitor - or the device they are using to view the site - like the browser or mobile phone. 

They were created to overcome a limitation in web technology. Web pages are 'stateless' - which means that they have no memory, and cannot easily pass information between each other. So cookies provide a kind of memory for web pages.

Cookies allow you to login on one page, then move around to other pages and stay logged in. They allow you to set preferences for the display of a page, and for these to be remembered the next time you return to it. Cookies can also be used to watch the pages you visit between sites, which allows advertisers to build up a picture of your interests. Then when you land on a site that shows one of their adverts - they can tailor it to those interests. This is known as 'behavioural advertising'.

Almost all websites use cookies in some way or another, and every page you visit in those sites writes cookies to your computer and receives them back from it.

Cookies are incredibly useful – they allow modern websites to work the way people have come to expect – with every increasing levels of personalisation and rich interactive functionality. However, they can also be used to manipulate your web experience in ways you might not expect, or like. It could be to your benefit, or the benefit of someone else – even a business or organisation that you have never had any direct contact with, or perhaps heard of. It is impossible to tell just by looking at them, whether particular cookies are benefitting you or another party. You have to rely on the website you are visiting to tell you how it uses cookies.

 

Cookie in a nutshell

Have a look at this video to learn more about cookies and how they are used.

Video "What is a cookie?" source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I01XMRo2ESg

 

Types of cookies

There are four principle types of cookie, which perform different functions. The main types are:

Essential cookies
Some cookies are essential for the operation of a website, and without these cookies the website would not be able to perform certain necessary functions. An obvious example of this is where a shopping website uses cookies to remember products placed into an online shopping basket. Without using these cookies, it would not be possible to shop online.

Performance cookies
Performance cookies collect information about how a website is used in order to improve the website's effectiveness. Also known as 'analytical' cookies, performance cookies track information such as, which parts of the website have been visited, what links have been clicked and if any errors have occurred. Performance cookies are commonly used to ensure that popular content is displayed more prominently on a website so that users can find the information that they are looking for more quickly.

Functionality cookies
As the name suggests, 'functionality' cookies are used to deliver specific features or functions on a website. The most common use of functionality cookies is to remember preference settings, or to store log-in details. For example to save you the trouble of inputting your username every time you access a site.

Targeting cookies
'Targeting' cookies may be placed by us, or by our advertisers, to store information about the webpages that you have viewed. This allows us and our advertisers to deliver adverts that are relevant to the content you are interested in. These adverts may be displayed on our website or on other sites that you visit.

Targeting cookies are also used to operate 'Like' or 'Share' buttons, which users can click to let other people know that they have found a particular webpage useful or entertaining. Other sites (normally social networking sites) will then recognise these cookies and display your shared content to other users.

 

Google Analytics? 

Websites use cookies to work out how popular the different pages of their sites are, sometimes even which parts of different pages. They do this by tracking pretty much every visitor to the site – the page they entered, where they came from to get there, the pages they looked at, in which order, the links clicked on, the time spent on each page, and the point of exit from the site.

Aggregating all that data into useful information is known as ‘web analytics’, and it gives website owners real understanding about how people use their site, which are the most and least popular pages, and how this changes over time. Doing this enables them to improve the site – doing more of what visitors like and less of what they don’t. Ultimately this benefits visitors through better content and services targeted at their needs.

However, the use of cookies does also raise a number of privacy concerns that people ought to be aware of.

(The above information was taken from http://cookiepedia.co.uk.  More information about cookies in general can be found on this page.)

Learn more about Google Analytics cookies 

 

Cookie law

The Cookie Law is a piece of privacy legislation that requires websites to get consent from visitors to store or retrieve any information on a computer, smartphone or tablet. It was designed to protect online privacy, by making consumers aware of how information about them is collected and used online, and give them a choice to allow it or not.

If you own a website, you will need to make sure it complies with the law, and this usually means making some changes. If you don't comply you risk enforcement action from regulators, which in France means from the CNIL In exceptional cases this can mean a fine.

 

Cookies: what does the French law say?

In application of the so-called "telecoms package" European directive, internet/website users must be informed and give their consent prior to the insertion of cookies. The law requires site managers and solution providers to inform and solicit the consent of users before the insertion of cookies or other tracers.

This consent is valid for 13 months. At the end of this period, the consent must be collected again. Certain cookies are, however, exempted from the collection of this consent. For example, authentication cookies, "shopping cart" cookies for a merchant site do not require consent.

To learn more about the CNIL and the rules in France on the site of https://www.cnil.fr/fr/cookies-comment-mettre-mon-site-web-en-conformite

 

How to validly collect consent?

The consent must be manifested by a positive action of the person previously informed of the consequences of his choice and having the means to exercise it. Appropriate systems must therefore be put in place to collect consent in a practical way that allows users to benefit from user-friendly and ergonomic solutions.

  • Consent must be aquired prior to the insertion or reading of cookies
  • Consent is a manifestation of will, free, specific and informed: the validity of consent is therefore linked to the quality of the information received.
  • Consent is only valid if the person makes a real choice.
  • It should be possible for the user to withdraw his consent.

 

In concrete terms, how do we comply?

Step 1: user information
In the first step, the visitor who goes to the site of a publisher (home page or secondary page of the site) must be informed, by the appearance of a banner:

  • the precise purposes of the cookies used;
  • the possibility to oppose these cookies and to change the parameters by clicking on a link present in the banner;
  • the fact that the continuation of its navigation is equivalent to the deposit of cookies on its terminal.

To the extent that consent should not be ambiguous, the banner should not disappear until the person has continued to navigate, that is, until the person has proceeded to another page of the site or did not click on an element of the site (image, link, "search" button).

Step 2: Learn more page
In this step, if you click on "Learn more", people must be offered solutions that allow them to refuse the insertion of cookies. The choice offered to the user to accept or refuse:

  • Must be possible for all the tracing technologies used by the publisher (cookies, flash cookies, fingerprinting, plugins, certain images stored in the browser, memory spaces specific to different browsers, etc.);
  • It must allow the user to accept or reject cookies by purposes (such as advertising, social networks, audience measurement).

For more information https://www.cnil.fr

 

Disclaimer 

In this short blog we have tried to inform you on the subject of cookies and what they mean to you as a website owner and to the visitors of your website(s). Please note that we are not legally schooled professionals so in conformity with our Conditions Général de Ventes, SARL Studio la Brame or any of its employers cannot be held responsible for the result of any misinterpretations or wrong translations. Keep in mind that the above is an interpretation and translation of information found on the internet on sites we trust, of which the links can be found in the text.

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STUDIO LA BRAME - COOKIES CHARTER

Cookies are information placed on your equipment by a website when you visit this site. We use several types of cookies and each of them performs different functions. You can learn more about cookies and their functions in general by visiting an information site such as:  https://www.cnil.fr

What is the use of cookies on Studio La Brame?

The cookies used by the site https://www.studiolabrame.com are mainly used to establish statistical measures of attendance and use of the site, in order to improve the use, the routes and the proposed functionalities.

How do I disable / enable cookies?

First, if you choose to disable cookies completely, you may not be able to use all of our interactive features. Deleting or blocking cookies is done at the browser level. Depending on your browser, please see the following pages to help you manage your cookies:

Microsoft Windows Explorer
Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox 
Apple Safari

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you are using another browser, please explore browser-specific settings to manage and delete cookies.

Applicable law: Law n° 78-17 du 6 janvier 1978 relative à l'informatique, aux fichiers et aux libertés.