Cookies, FTC and privacy: why you should care about them

Cookies have recently attracted a lot of attention. I mean the tracking type, not the edible type in Christmas patterns and colors.

ScanScout, an online advertiser, recently resolved an FTC enforcement action regarding language in its privacy policy (“PP”) about cookies. ScanScout’s PP stated that users could set their browsers to block cookies that they use to collect information about users in order to send them targeted advertising. However, it turns out that the tracking cookies they were using were flash cookies which could not be blocked as stated. The FTC found this to be misleading and enforcement action ensued.

What does this mean for you or your company?

Use of cookies

Please consider not using flash cookies if you are currently doing so or considering it. Many people find flash cookies to be misleading and invasive. In fact, a primer on flash cookies by the Electronic Privacy Information Center shows that the breadth of information collected by these cookies is likely beyond the comfort zone of today’s privacy-conscious consumers.

Have a privacy policy

Yes, it can be tempting to simply solve this problem without having a PP. After all, if you don’t have a PP, you can’t be found to be violating it, right? Maybe, but you create other risks by deciding not to have a PP. First, consumers have become increasingly skeptical about having anything to do with websites that don’t have privacy policies, so you could be losing business. Second, not having a PP will prevent you from using certain useful services (like Google Analytics, which requires users to post a privacy policy) and running promotions or contests using many social media platforms.

Check the cookie practices in your Privacy Policy

Make sure you fully understand your cookie practices and those of any third parties (such as Google Analytics) that provide applications or tools that you use in your interface with users. Your PP must specify exactly what cookies are used, if they are persistent, if you use flash cookies, how you use the information obtained from cookies (eg, use the information for internal or external targeted marketing), if you share the information collected with third parties. parties, and how users can block cookies (including providing a mechanism to block flash cookies, a key requirement of ScanScout’s consent decree). Finally, if you use third-party services that use cookies, consider checking the third-party service’s cookie policy in its PP.

Finally, if you are going to make changes to your website’s privacy policy, make sure it is properly published to your customers and/or users, ideally with a click-through mechanism where they must accept the new privacy policy before accessing it. . Your place.

What do you think about the use of cookies for marketing?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *