New European Telecom Law Implemented Bans Cookies

Author: Jonathan van de Veen
Published: June 01, 2012 at 11:23 am

As of May 9th 2012, the Netherlands has become one of the first European country to implement the European Telecom law. This new law proves to have both a good and a bad side. At one side it implements net neutrality, thus preventing providers from controlling bandwidth for certain services, which I think is a great improvement.

On the other side it introduces a ban on cookies, or at least on most of them. In fact this new law doesn't specifically mention cookies. It talks about storing and accessing information on the users devices. This means is also includes flash-cookies, HTML5 local storage and other technologies with the same use. Although it's true that this law doesn't only effect the use of cookies, it does have the greatest impact on cookies as their use is very, very wide spread.

I should clarify that it doesn't completely ban storing information this way. If it's for a clear functional reason, for example for a shopping cart function, it's allowed. Also, if you have explicit consent from the user to store a particular piece of information, you're fine too. Click here to open the directive which is the basis for this legislation. And last, but not least, if you can prove that there is a greater interest being served by storing a particular piece of information on the users device, compared to the users privacy, including commercial interests, that's okay too - However you'll have to proof that this is the case.

So why do I call that a bad thing? It's there to protect our privacy, right? Well, that was most likely the intention of the law. The problem is that, although the Dutch government stated they will only go after the biggest cases, they are unlikely to achieve anything there.

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