Following the European Commission’s initiation of infringement proceedings against Belgium, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and the Senate have finally voted on the Act which would bring Belgium law in line with Europe’s ‘cookie consent’ requirement.
So what does this Act say about cookies?
Belgium eventually opted for a pragmatic approach: Cookies may be served if the individual gives his or her consent, having been provided with clear and comprehensive information about why their personal data will be collected and processed.
Website operators in Belgium can breath a sigh of relief, as contrary to the initial draft prepared by the Telco regulator, the Act does not require ‘prior written consent’. In the absence of any further guidance about how consent must be obtained, it seems that it will be possible for website operators to rely on both ‘express’ and ‘implied’ consent, provided it is ‘freely given, unambiguous, specific and informed‘.
Practical tips for website operators
In the absence of any explanatory notes from the Chamber of Representatives or more practical guidance from Belgian regulators, website operators may find it useful to have a look at the guidance published by other regulators such as the ICO or the CNIL.
In any event, it is clear that the adoption of the cookie consent rules in Belgium is now a reality and website operators in Belgium no longer have an excuse not to take appropriate action.