The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party - a group set up under the personal data directive consisting of representatives from the data protection agencies of the member states - has recently published a report laying down the content of the consent requirement under the cookie rules. The purpose of the report is to ensure a uniform construction of the consent requirement within the EU. The Group's construction is close to the Danish construction as described in the cookie guideline.

Owners of websites using cookies are obligated to inform the users that the website uses cookies and the purpose thereof. Based on this information, the user may give his/her consent.

The Working Party attaches importance to the fact that the consent must be specific and based on clear, adequate and unambiguous information on the website's use of cookies. In this connection, it should be stated which types of cookies are used and their purpose. A consent will be considered invalid if the user has not obtained information on the purpose of the cookie.

The consent must also be antecedent meaning that cookies may not be used before consent has been obtained.

Further, the consent must express a volunteer indication of a wish. This means that the user must actively give his/her consent e.g. by clicking onto a page, by crossing off a box or by clicking a button on the website. It is not sufficient that the user simply visits the website. The Working Party recommends that the access to a website is not made conditional on the user accepting the website's cookies.

If the owner of the website wants to be sure that the website complies with the consent requirement, all the above requirements should be met.

(To read the entire report, click here. Please note that the report is in Danish).