Taking a cue from a decision by the French supervisory authority CNIL, which at the end of last year fined Google and Facebook heavily for not having such an easy opt-out alternative to cookies banners, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) informed Google last week that the consent banners on the Google search engine pages and on YouTube currently do not meet the legal requirements for data protection.
A non-compliant cookie banner
The HmbBfDI had recently received numerous complaints about the cookie banners of the two American giants.
After clicking on the « I agree » button to consent to all personal data processing on Google’s offers, the complainants deplore not having the possibility to withdraw or not providing their consent easily. Those who do not wish to provide such consent would only have the option to opt out of the settings for each data processing individually via the Personalize page.
Google’s far too complex procedure for refusing to process personal data is therefore not in line with the Telecommunications Data Protection Act (TTDSG) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which clearly state that effective consent can only be given if both options for action, i.e. consent and refusal, are equally accessible in a quick and easy manner. These principles apply both in Germany and in Europe.
An opportunity to reiterate the legislation
Thomas Fuchs, Hamburg’s Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, was quick to point out the current requirements of the current regulations: « Consent must correspond to the actual wishes of the users. You must be able to exercise it without manipulation or influence. This is only the case if the consent is possible in an equivalent way to the rejection. Google is not the case at the moment, but has declared in an initial reaction its willingness to quickly provide an equivalent opt-out alternative. Overall, for cookie banners, an « opt-out » button should become the norm. As part of the ongoing complaint procedures, this invitation has therefore been extended to other media. »