In July 2015, Google announced a change to its user consent policy. The company now requires publishers to ask site visitors from the European Union for permission to use their data.

Publishers have the option to display a prominent link to how Google uses data when using partner sites or apps, which will fulfil some of their disclosure obligations. However, don’t be misled into thinking that just following Google’s instructions is enough.

The Google banner is not sufficient to meet EU Cookie consent requirements. It may protect Google but not the site owner, who still needs to provide a complete cookie policy.

Will this affect You?

Google’s policy change will affect a number of publishers as any site on the web could potentially have EU-based traffic.

All publishers using third-party advertising services such as Google AdSense will need to take steps to ensure compliance with the user consent policy. The announcement applies to apps as well as websites, and AdSense customers must comply with the new rules by 30th September 2015.

'Google Policy Team' email July 2015

Google requests the following:

  • You must use commercially reasonable efforts to disclose clearly, and obtain consent to, any data collection, sharing and usage that takes place on any site, app, email publication or other property as a consequence of your use of Google products.
  • You must use commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that an end user is provided with clear and comprehensive information about, and consents to, the storing and accessing of cookies or other information on the end user’s device where such activity occurs in connection with a product to which this policy applies.

Why is Google doing this?

The EU has had regulations concerning cookie-related data collection in place for some time now. They have frequently pressed for a range of user protections when it comes to how web users’ data and information is tracked and made available online.

Google has responded to this pressure by stating that it’s their policy to comply with privacy laws, and agreeing to make certain changes affecting their own products and partners using Google products.

What do you need to do?

Publishers who use Google AdSense, DoubleClick for Publishers, or DoubleClick Ad Exchange must include disclosure and consent solutions on all their sites.

To comply with the user consent policy, site owners should report all cookies they set. They will then be required to implement a policy-compliant user consent mechanism to ensure that user preferences are respected.

Use Cookie Reports to provide a professional Auditing service

Site owners need to be fully aware of all the tracking technologies on their sites. Consequently, this requires a complete audit of all your digital properties to gather the intelligence needed. Only once this information has been obtained can organisations put in place the consent mechanisms required to cover all their data collection activities.

For a free site review and analysis of your current compliance with the EU Regulations, please contact us!