MyLife Digital and TrustArc Partner to Deliver Market-Leading Universal Preference and Consent Management to Enterprises

TrustArc and MyLife Digital, European specialists and leaders in innovation on consent and preference management, have announced a strategic partnership that will enable organisations to embark on a unified consent journey, gaining mutual value, bringing people closer to their data whilst ensuring compliance.

As organisations look to differentiate themselves in a competitive market place, there is an increasing demand to understand their consumers’ buying behaviours, and deliver the right message at the right time, on the right channel to maximise revenues, whilst adhering to the forever-evolving global regulations, such as GDPR, CCPA, LGPD and PECR.

TrustArc’s cookie management solutions address early phases of a customer consent journey, either with their Professional or Advanced solution and are trusted by hundreds of global organisations. TrustArc provides a flexible technology solution and portal for gaining Cookie Consent in a manner consistent with current legal and regulatory requirements and in compliance with the EU GDPR and any other current and forthcoming global requirements.

MyLife Digitals’ highly granular consent and preference management solution, Consentric, provides a central view of consent captured across multiple sources. This gives marketing clarity and ownership over customers’ preferred communication channels and topics, whilst giving compliance teams the assurance that any changes to customer consents and preferences are evidenced.

“Consent management is more than just cookie-preference management; it needs to be a unified endeavor,” said Courtney Pallotta, SVP Marketing, TrustArc. “To provide the best possible experience to their customers, organizations must think of consent management as an ongoing process that captures customer consent choices across the lifetime of the customer relationship. The TrustArc partnership with MyLife Digital empowers companies to embed unified consent into their overarching and ongoing privacy program for the best possible customer experience.”

The combined consent management offerings embed privacy into the customer experience and allow enterprises to reinforce trust, increase transparency, empower individuals and be accountable internally and externally.

Director of Sales, Marketing and Partnerships, Katie Bates said “We are delighted to partner with TrustArc, enabling customers to embark on their unified consent journey and leverage the best-of-breed products we have in our joint portfolio. Together we have extensive expertise in privacy, regulation and customer centricity and are positioned strongly as leaders in our space in the European markets. I look forward to strengthening our partnership and building on our product integrations as we embark on this journey.”

Read more about this partnership here.

EU High Court Confirms Pre-Ticked Boxes Are Insufficient for Cookie Consent

On October 1st, in the much anticipated Planet49 case, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) affirmed an earlier opinion set forth by the Advocate-General that utilizing pre-ticked boxes to obtain consent for website cookies does not represent valid consent because it does not show affirmative, unambiguous action on the part of the data subject.  The Court decided this with reference to the GDPR, the ePrivacy Directive and the GDPR’s predecessor, the Data Protection Directive, which was in force at the time of the matter at issue.

The case, referred to the ECJ by the highest court in Germany, involved an online gaming company that offered website visitors the opportunity–after providing basic contact information–to enter an online lottery.  To do so, visitors were shown two checkboxes: (1) an unticked box requesting the individual to agree to receive third party marketing messages, and (2) a pre-ticked box requesting the user to consent to the placement on their browser of advertising cookies.  To enter the lottery, the third party marketing checkbox had to be affirmatively ticked, whereas the advertising cookie checkbox did not have to be ticked–but had to be manually un-selected by the visitor in order to refuse her consent to such cookies.  

The Court analyzed Article 5(3) of the EU’s ePrivacy Directive, which requires that users have a GDPR-level of data subject consent prior to the storage and accessing of cookies on web browsers and other devices–which is separate from the requirement to then have a lawful basis for processing any personal data derived from those cookies, as is required by Article 6 of the GDPR.  The ECJ found that because ePrivacy requires that a user must have “given his or her consent” for the storage or collection of cookies, this weighs in favor of a literal interpretation such that “action is required on the part of the user in order to give his or her consent.”  

Other takeaways from the case include the ECJ confirming that the ePrivacy Directive’s consent requirements with respect to the storing or accessing of “information” apply irrespective of whether the information involved amounts to “personal data” as defined by the GDPR, and the finding that for consent to be valid, website operators must transparently indicate the life span of each cookie and whether any third parties will have access to them.  

Questions left unanswered by the decision include a formal opinion on the legality of so-called “cookie walls” that require consent to third party cookies as a pre-condition to general access to a website, and an opinion as to whether a data subject can be required to consent to the processing of personal data for advertising purposes in order to participate in the promotional lottery.  The latter question, which the ECJ was not asked to rule on, could by extension have implications for online ad-funded content.

This case serves as a reminder that for consent to cookies to be valid in the EU, the data subject’s consent at issue must be active, rather than passive; unambiguous and not implied, as would be the case by requiring individuals to be aware enough to un-tick a pre-ticked box; and specific, rather than bundled with other terms.  For a summary of the case, see here.

TrustArc’s best-in-class Cookie Consent Manager helps organizations of all industries and sizes satisfy their cookie compliance goals via its support for “zero-cookie” load experiences.  Through the integration of your organization’s tag management system, or the use of our Consent Manager API, the placement of cookies or the firing of tags or trackers can be withheld until after a user affirmatively opts-in using the Consent Manager.  For more information, reach out to your Technical Account Manager or contact TrustArc today.

Cookie Audit — Ready to Perform One Today?

“Cookie audits” resurfaced as a major topic shortly after the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recommended that such audits become a regular part of a company’s privacy compliance efforts.

On July 3rd, the ICO announced that it had published a new, detailed guidance covering the use of cookies and similar tracking technologies on websites and other terminal equipment. As part of this guidance, the ICO emphasized the importance of performing comprehensive cookie audits to detail what cookies are being used on a website and to discern which of them comprise “strictly necessary” first and third party cookies versus those which do not. 

A cookie audit should inform website operators about the:

  • presence of cookies on a website
  • purpose and use of each cookie including the cookie’s involvement with processing of personal data
  • values, data, lifespan and other attributes linked to each cookie
  • proper categorization of each cookie such as required, functional or advertising
  • classification of each cookie as first or third party

Further details about the ICO’s guidance on cookies can be found in the UK ICO and French CNIL Cookie Consent Privacy Compliance Update Advisory and the Cookie Crack Down Webinar.

Every website is unique, but cookie audits do not need to be a difficult exercise for companies wanting to address consent requirements from the GDPR, CCPA, and other regulations. The TrustArc Website Monitoring Manager enables companies to perform cookie audits starting with a deep website scan. The results can be integrated to the cookie consent notice and downloaded as a report to be shared with others. 

TrustArc Cookie Consent and Real-Time Bidding Webinar – Overview and FAQ

On July 31st, TrustArc offered the latest webinar in its free Privacy Insight Series entitled Cookie Crack Down:  What New ICO and CNIL Guidance Means for Your Business.  The hour-long session and its slides are available on-demand here.

The colorful webinar–we hope in terms of both its oral and visual accompaniment–attempted to make digestible the following far-ranging topics:

  • How the data-driven digital advertising system works, from personalized ads, to the ad tech alphabet soup’s major participants, to identifiers and segments;
  • The mechanics of real-time bidding (RTB) and bid requests, ad exchanges, and current RTB lawsuits in Europe;
  • The interplay between the ePrivacy Directive and the GDPR, and the status of current ePrivacy Regulation legislative discussions;
  • The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)’s report on ad tech and RTB, including its clarifications around consent for ePrivacy purposes (and, likely, then consent as the lawful processing basis for RTB activities), the impermissible collection and use of special category data, transparency, and the need for data protection impact assessments
  • The French CNIL’s recently revised “continued navigation” cookie consent interpretation;
  • The ICO’s new cookies-related guidance, including the “strictly necessary” cookie consent exception, website audits, and the view of 1st party analytics cookies; and
  • Why TrustArc continues to recommend a “Zero-cookie/tracker” load approach for your Cookie Consent Manager, by integrating either a tag manager or our own API to prevent the firing of tags or dropping of cookies until after an opt-in consent preference has been recorded.

For broader visibility and information sharing, what follows are short answers to questions that we received during and after the webinar.  As always, this is intended for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice, but can nonetheless perhaps be used as considerations for further discussions with legal counsel on a case-by-case basis. 

How to control all these third parties on our website?  There can be many…!  Yes, indeed.  We recommend identifying all first and third party trackers present on your website via Website Monitoring Manager; understanding how they arrived on your digital property in the first place (e.g., with your permission versus “daisy-chaining” in); reviewing any underlying contracts with the unaffiliated entities; categorizing the cookies/trackers according to what they do for your digital property; and using Cookie Consent Manager with a tag management system or our API to not allow their loading until after a user consents.

What are EU regulators’ views on “cookie walls” that require consent to advertising cookies in order to access a site?  As discussed during the webinar, the UK ICO generally disfavors cookies walls when employing a “take it or leave it approach,” on grounds that this generally results in consent not being freely given.  That said, the ICO did leave the door open slightly for cookie walls used to access specific website content rather than as a prerequisite to general site access. The Dutch supervisory authority, on the other hand, has wholly endorsed the view that obstacles that prevent an end user from interacting with a website unless that user first affirmatively consents to the dropping of non-strictly necessary cookies or firing of other tracking technologies equates to the consent being invalid.  The Dutch regulator in March 2019 indicated that it will “intensify the verification of correct compliance and has already sent a number of specific parties a letter about this,” suggesting that with that notice now enunciated, enforcement action is likely to follow.

Should the consumer at the end of an Internet session automatically revoke consent?  That’s technically possible, such as by requesting an opt-out for all cookies or by altering one’s browser settings, but in practice for persistent (i.e., non-session) cookies that’s probably not scalable for most consumers given how many websites they visit.  

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), aren’t even cookie data, inferred interests and behavior “personal information”?  The definition for PI under the CCPA is very broad–arguably more expansive than the GDPR.  In addition to including inferences drawn to create a profile about a consumer reflecting the consumer’s preferences, behavior, attitudes and abilities, the CCPA’s PI definition also includes IP address, unique personal identifiers and browser search history.

Have you taken the EU court ruling of 29.07.19 into consideration already?  Alas, we ran out of time during the webinar, but we’re pleased you’ve referred to the Fashion ID case.  In it, the Court of Justice of the European Union found a joint controller relationship between Facebook and website operators using its “Like” button on their website–but only with respect to the collection and transmission of website visitor data to Facebook, and not with respect to subsequent processing by Facebook. Although we continue to monitor how the implications of this complex matter may be further understood, the ECJ seems to have clarified that websites using widgets or social media plug-ins must transparently inform end users of this and request consent in advance of sending PI to such third party recipients.

You indicated that ePrivacy (U.K. PECR) requires GDPR-level prior consent from an end user to access or store information on the user’s device using cookies or similar technologies…but does using a cookie tool to store EU site visitors’ consent preferences break this requirement?  The ICO has clarified that exemptions to the consent requirement do exist for its PECR regulations that transpose the ePrivacy Directive into U.K. law.  TrustArc’s dynamic Cookie Consent Manager solutions was built to help organizations provide notice, offer meaningful choice and remember users’ cookie preferences within a browser.  In its recent guidance, the ICO noted that “user preference,” when coupled with proper purpose limitation, can form the basis for such an exemption, including in the context of a cookie consent mechanism.  It further clarified that “the act of interacting with the consent mechanism can be sufficient for consent to be obtained for any cookies relating to that mechanism, provided the user is given clear and comprehensive information as to the fact that a persistent cookie will be set on their device for the purpose of remembering their cookie consent preference.”

If I’m running A/B tests on a website, do I need to ask for consent to the users based on ICO guidance?  If you are running A/B tests on a website targeted at EU visitors, and the website tests involved cookies or similar tracking technologies that access or store information on the user’s browser or mobile device, then absent an exemption considered with counsel and documented (such as, perhaps, for limited security, network management, authentication, or other purposes “strictly necessary” to provide the end user a requested service), then it is likely that consent for ePrivacy/PECR purposes would need to be obtained prior to such access or storage.

If I am a data collector, but the personal data unequivocally will not be used for any marketing or sales purposes, do you feel a notification of cookies is sufficient?  Or is a separate active consent still a necessity?  Regardless of the purpose, for ePrivacy Directive compliance, consent is likely needed to access or store information on a user’s browser or device unless an exemption applies.  It’s possible to assert a different lawful basis, such as legitimate interests, to process any subsequent information derived from the cookies or trackers for which you obtained ePrivacy consent, but this is a nuanced determination that should only be made when fully understood with legal counsel.

Will real-time bidding procedures be considered a “sale” under the CCPA?  How are cookie issues impacted by CCPA?  These are good questions that are not entirely clear from the text of the CCPA, and which intersect with areas where guidance from the California Attorney General is highly sought after.  Given the breadth of the definition of “sell” or “sale” under the CCPA, which includes disclosing, disseminating, making available or transferring “a consumer’s [PI] to another business or a third party for monetary or other valuable consideration,” this would seem to capture many of the standard practices that exist every millisecond in RTB.  However, determinations as to “business” eligibility, or whether an entity is acting as a “service provider” pursuant to a valid “business purpose” (and thus potentially outside the definition of a “sale”) versus acting as a “third party,” are all matters of interpretation that turn on the particulars of any entity’s activities, and so cannot be easily answered on a general level.

Which cookie consent management platforms would you recommend?  Well, since you asked this question in earnest, we’ll answer in earnest–our very own Cookie Consent Manager of course!

Thank you for your questions and participation during this event.  Feel free to sign up for a free subscription to our Privacy Insight Series or contact us anytime to learn more about how TrustArc can help your organization with all its privacy needs!

New Webinar 7/31 – Cookie Crack Down: What New ICO and CNIL Guidance Means For Your Business

TrustArc is proud to present the next Privacy Insight Series webinar “Cookie Crack Down: What New Regulator Guidance Means For Your Business” with TrustArc Senior Counsel Darren Abernethy. This webinar will take place on Wednesday, July 31st at 8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more recent cookie guidance – register today!

The only thing hotter than temperatures this summer in the European Union is activity around the digital advertising ecosystem, real-time bidding, website cookie practices and discussions of the interplay between GDPR and the current ePrivacy Directive.

Traditional interpretations (and consumers’ expectations) are changing, and it’s important for organizations to understand the pulse of supervisory authorities’ recent guidance, reports and announced plans with respect to advertising technology—in order to begin operationalizing any needed updates to data governance, website and supply chain practices.

This TrustArc webinar will provide:

  • An overview of the recent cookie guidance and real-time bidding report from the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office;
  • A walk-through of what the French privacy regulator’s recently announced changed interpretation of what constitutes valid cookie consent means for organizations globally; and
  • A breakdown of advertising ecosystem participants’ data protection best practices in transparency, documenting legal bases, treatment of special category data, cookie consent exceptions, and more.

Speaker Darren Abernethy is an active participant in DAA, DAAC, EDAA and other advertising industry privacy self-regulatory organizations. Darren is a regular contributor to advisory boards and marketing tech publications, and has authored multiple papers on consent, ad tech and marketing best practices.

Can’t make it? Register anyway – we’ll automatically send you an email with both the slides and recording after the webinar.

TrustArc publishes a broad range of privacy educational resources, including research reports, benchmark statistics, solutions briefs, product updates, webinars, workshops and much more. Check out the following resources on hot topics including CCPA, GDPR, Vendor Risk Management, DSAR Best Practices, Cookie Consent, and much more. Register for the free TrustArc Privacy Insight Series subscription and find out why over 20,000 privacy professionals per year take advantage of TrustArc privacy education resources.