Do You Really Need A Cookie Preference Center? Here's What You Should Know
If you need to obtain explicit consent for cookies, you need a cookie preference center. It will allow your users to adjust their cookie preferences at any time.
A cookie preference center is a privacy tool that enables users to adjust their privacy preferences regarding data obtained by cookies.
If you obtain consent with a GDPR-compliant cookie banner, you request consent for each specific purpose of personal data processing.
Users may accept all cookies, some cookies, or none of them. They can withdraw the previously given consent and give you consent for cookies they have refused previously.
Do I need a cookie preference center?
Although not explicitly required by the cookie laws, a cookie preference center is a good practice to ensure cookie compliance.
As we explained above, you need to allow users to manipulate their cookie choices when they want. You want to automate that, and a cookie preference center is a practical way.
It will allow users to adjust their consent preferences and keep records of their consent choices. If the data protection authority or a data subject asks you to prove that you comply with the laws, the preference center will make it easy for you.
Do I need to obtain cookie consent?
Let’s say you use Google Analytics cookies for tracking website visitors, Facebook Pixel to track browsing behavior, plugins for seamless content sharing on social media, Google Tag Manager for remarketing, and some functional cookies.
Each of them serves a specific purpose for data processing and processes different categories of data. You need to obtain specific consent for each processing purpose. You cannot rely on general consent for all categories of cookies.
If your website uses the cookies mentioned above, you’ll need to obtain consent for the following cookies and trackers:
- Functional cookies
- Analytics cookies
- Marketing and advertising cookies and trackers
- Social media sharing cookies
The user can consent to none of the cookies, to all the cookies, or only to some of them. For example, users can accept functional and analytics cookies but refuse social media and marketing cookies and trackers.
The only exception to the rule is the strictly necessary cookies. When cookies are required for the website’s proper functioning, you can use them without consent.
Sometimes, however, the laws may not require you to obtain cookie consent.
The exception to this rule is compliance with US state laws such as:
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
- California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA)
- Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA)
- Colorado Privacy Act (CPA)
- Utah Consumer Privacy Act (UCPA)
- Connecticut Data Privacy Act (CTDPA)
Compliance with Australian privacy laws does not require obtaining cookie consent either.
You can even use third-party cookies without asking users for consent. These laws rely on the “opt-out” principle, which means that you can collect and process personal data until someone opts out of the processing. All you need to do is provide them with a cookie notice or a privacy notice at data collection to inform them about what you do with it and that they can opt-out.
Why do I need to obtain cookie consent?
Cookies are small text files your website sends to the users’ devices to collect personal data for processing. Cookies and other trackers use unique identifiers for each of your users and track them.
There are many categories of cookies. Depending on various criteria, there are:
- First-party cookies and third-party cookies
- Session cookies and persistent cookies
- Performance cookies, marketing cookies, social media cookies, functionality cookies, etc.
As a rule of thumb, the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union and other similar laws do not allow setting cookies without the user’s explicit consent. Cookies collect personal information; you must not do so unless the user allows it. The GDPR requires you to respect their online privacy and protect their data, so you must ask them to track them first.
Some users may set up their cookie preferences through their web browsers. Others will interact with your cookie consent banner.
How to automate cookie consent
You can easily automate cookie consent by installing cookie consent management software on your website.
Secure Privacy is a consent management platform that provides websites with compliant consent banners that request consent in a GDPR-compliant manner, record the user consent, and provide users with a cookie preference center from where they can adjust their cookie preferences whenever they want.
Our solution enables you to comply with cookie laws across multiple jurisdictions while providing a good user experience to your customers. You can configure it to ensure compliance with the data protection laws applicable to your business and start collecting and recording consent lawfully.
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