You’ve seen them—those little pop-ups at the bottom of every web page that asks you about your cookie preferences. And no, we’re not talking about Chips Ahoy or Oreos. We’re talking about little pieces of data your browser stores as you interact with a website. This data could be anything from your login information to a form you fill out on a contact page.
But did you know requesting cookie preferences is only mandatory in certain countries? While Canada currently isn’t one of them, our web design and web development agency stands behind them. And it’s likely, given time, they will be required here too. Here’s what you need to know about cookie laws and why you should add a cookie notice to your website.
While some cookies are necessary for websites to function properly, others are optional and provide tracking data that keeps a record of your activities.
The problem stems from third-party cookies collecting excessive data. Ever wonder why you see ads related to a topic you were searching just the other day? You can thank cookies. For example, if you visit a website that has embedded Instagram or Facebook content like a social media widget, these platforms will typically use third-party cookies to follow your browsing behavior across different websites that have integrated their content. As a result, they generate ads based on your preferences.
To address this issue, certain countries introduced laws to protect privacy. The EU set a standard with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR imposes restrictions on the collection and usage of personal data, including cookies. Without explicit consent (hello, cookie pop-ups), websites have limited access to your information.
What does this mean if you’re a business with clients in the EU? By law, you need to have cookies on your website or you could face charges. This recently happened with Meta in Ireland when they were hit with a $1.3 Billion fine over GDPR violations.
In Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is currently the closest policy we have to GDPR. While it doesn’t explicitly mention cookies, it does have rules around consent related to privacy laws. If you’re a business operating in Canada with clients both in the country and in the EU, having cookies on your website is essential not only to protect you but to ensure you’re getting the most out of your website metrics. This is especially true if you use Google Analytics on your website.
Google Analytics relies on cookies to collect data, but if a user declines cookies, your user-funnel is less clear and may require the system to make educated guesses on user behaviour. It’s necessary to configure your analytics system accordingly, ensuring that data collection and processing comply with privacy laws. The good news is our web development and digital marketing teams can help. Reach out today and find out how we can optimize your analytics and get a cookie notice on your website.