Internet users must actively consent to use of cookies, EU court rules

Several of the largest Internet companies such as Facebook, currently have implicit cookie consent, where by using the site, consent is deemed to have been given. (AFP)
Updated 01 October 2019

Internet users must actively consent to use of cookies, EU court rules

  • Ruling stems from a 2013 case when the German Federation of Consumer Organizations took legal action against online lottery company Planet49

BRUSSELS: Internet users must actively consent to companies storing cookies that are used to track online browsing behavior, the European Court of Justice said on Tuesday in a ruling that could significantly affect ePrivacy regulation.
The ruling stems from a 2013 case when the German Federation of Consumer Organizations took legal action against online lottery company Planet49, which had a pre-ticked checkbox to authorize the use of cookies.
The cookies — data sent from a website and stored on a user’s computer — collected information to help target advertisements for products offered by Planet49’s partners.
The consumer organization argued this was illegal because the authorization did not involve explicit consent from the user.
The German Federal Court of Justice asked for guidance from the EU’s highest court to rule on the case in relation to EU laws on Internet privacy. The EU court sided with the German consumer group, saying EU law aimed to protect consumers from interference with their private lives.
“A pre-ticked check box is therefore insufficient,” the court said in a press release, adding that cookie consent must be specific and explicit and that clicking a button to participate in a game or browsing a website, and through that allowing cookies, was not enough.
The Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law at the University of Oslo said in a statement that the ruling is “likely to have a significant impact on the ongoing negotiations on the ePrivacy regulation which is set to regulate cookie usage.”
Several of the largest Internet companies, such as Facebook and Twitter currently have implicit cookie consent, where by using the site, consent is deemed to have been given.
Facebook and Twitter were not immediately available for comment.
The case predates General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — the May 2018 Internet privacy regulations that stipulate how companies must inform users about how their personal information is gathered.
The EU court also ruled that service providers had to fully inform users, including how long the cookies would operate for and whether third parties would have access to gathered data.


OPEC+ faces challenge from rivals’ rising output, says IEA

Updated 15 November 2019

OPEC+ faces challenge from rivals’ rising output, says IEA

  • Sluggish refinery activity in the first three quarters has caused crude oil demand to fall for first time in a decade

LONDON: OPEC and its allies face stiffening competition in 2020, the International Energy Agency said on Friday, adding urgency to the oil producer group’s policy meeting next month.

“The OPEC+ countries face a major challenge in 2020 as demand for their crude is expected to fall sharply,” the Paris-based agency said in a monthly report.

The IEA estimated non-OPEC supply growth would surge to
2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) next year compared with 1.8 million bpd in 2019, citing production from the US, Brazil, Norway and Guyana.

“The hefty supply cushion that is likely to build up during the first half of next year will offer cold comfort to OPEC+ ministers gathering in Vienna at the start of next month,” it added.

While US supply rose by 145,000 bpd in October, the IEA said, a slowdown in activity that started earlier this year looks set to continue as companies prioritize capital discipline.

Demand for crude oil from OPEC in 2020 will be 28.9 million bpd, the IEA forecast, 1 million bpd below the exporter club’s current production.

The recovery by Saudi Arabia from attacks on the country’s oil infrastructure contributed 1.4 million bpd to the global oil supply increase in October of 1.5 million bpd.

Saudi state oil company Aramco, the world’s most profitable firm, starts a share sale on Nov. 17 in an initial public offering that may raise between $20 billion and
$40 billion.

It was the IEA’s last monthly report before the Dec. 5-6 talks among OPEC states and partners led by Russia on whether to maintain supply curbs aimed at buoying prices and balancing the market.

The agency kept its assessments for growth in global oil demand in 2019 and 2020 at 1 million bpd and 1.2 million bpd respectively, but said its outlook might slightly underestimate the impact of tariffs from the US-China trade war.

The IEA said that if some or all tariffs were lifted in coming months, “world economic growth and oil demand growth would both rise significantly,” though the rebound may not be immediate.

Sluggish refinery activity in the first three quarters has caused crude oil demand to fall in 2019 for the first time since 2009, the IEA said, but refining is set to rebound sharply in the fourth quarter and in 2020.