Article 29 Working Party Issues Its Cookie Sweep Combined Analysis - Report

Author:Ms Cynthia O'Donoghue and Katalina Bateman
Profession:Reed Smith
 
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On 3 February, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party published its 'Cookie Sweep Combined Analysis – Report'. The sweep was undertaken by the WP29 in partnership with eight of the European data protection regulators, including the UK's ICO, France's CNIL and Spain's AEPD, in order to assess the current steps taken by website operators to ensure compliance with Article 5(3) of Directive 2002/58/EC, as amended by 2009/136/EC. The Report details the results of their assessment of the extent of the use of cookies, the level of information provided, and a review of control mechanisms in place.

The Report examines 250 websites which were selected as among the most frequently visited by individuals within each member state taking part in the sweep. Media, e-commerce and the public sector were chosen as target sectors, which were those considered by the WP29 to present the 'greatest data protection and privacy risks to EU citizens'.

Highlights of the assessment include:

High numbers of cookies are being placed by websites. Media websites place an average of 50 cookies during a visitor's first visit. Expiry dates of cookies are often excessive. Three cookies in the sweep had been set with the expiry date of 31 December 9999, nearly 8000 years in the future. Excluding cookies with a long duration...

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