Dutch supervisory authority starts enforcing cookie legislation

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14 April, 2015

The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), who’s responsible for the enforcement of the Dutch cookie legislation, has started to enforce the Dutch ‘cookie-law’ by sending out first-time warnings of identified violations. Geenstijl.nl, a Dutch news website, posted the warning it received online. According to the ACM, geenstijl.nl doesn’t properly inform their users about the cookies dropped by the website.

As of 11 March 2015, the Dutch Telecommunications Act states that websites that place cookies have to inform users about the purpose and use of the cookie in a clear and understandable manner, unless the cookies used have little or no impact on the privacy of the data subjects. ACM stated that once the legislative change got implemented they would be stricter in enforcing the law, since the change of the provision might possibly lead to confusion for companies about when consent is required.

This is the first time since the change of the provisions in 2012 that the ACM has started to actively enforce the cookie legislation for commercial websites. Websites that place cookies, but don’t properly inform their visitors, will first receive a warning. If the warned companies fail to achieve compliance within a set amount of time, the ACM is empowered to impose a fine up to €450.000 or penalty payments.

The threat of a high fine is often reason enough for the companies to change the cookies used or the information on the website after being given a warning by the ACM. GeenStijl for example stated that “the possible fine is a lot of money” and changed the information given on their website right after receiving their first warning.

For more information about the recent changes in the Dutch cookie legislation, do not hesitate to contact us.

Jonathan Toornstra

Legal Consultant

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