November 28, 2012

Mobile apps collectively and legally ignore Dutch cookie law

Filed under: Online,Technology by Orangemaster @ 1:23 pm

In the spirit of keeping you posted, the Dutch cookie law is difficult to understand, it’s very confusing, the government can’t even be bothered, public broadcasters just cut people off and mobile apps don’t even have to adhere to the law.

Although mobile apps for smartphones and tablets are more popular than websites and make use of the same user information to push adverts and the likes, the cookie law doesn’t apply to them. However, apps do have to comply with the personal privacy protection law, which they gladly choose to ignore. App builders know that the chance of being fined is slim, so they would rather take the risk than have to try and figure out the law, following an obvious trend.

If this isn’t a group middle finger salute to a poorly written law I don’t know what is.


Tags: , , ,

October 13, 2012

Public broadcaster closes off websites to privacy fans

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 1:05 pm

Screenshot of with the cookie dialogue.

The website that the public broadcasters of the Netherlands use to display videos of programmes that have already been broadcast, Uitzending Gemist, has been locked down for visitors who refuse to accept Internet cookies.

A recent law stipulates that website owners must ask every visitor permission to store cookies. (Cookies are a web browser technology for storing small bits of data about a visitor.) The law does not say what a website owner should do if a visitor refuses cookies. Two options that spring to mind are to show a simplified website (typically without advertising) or to show no website at all.

Volkskrant quotes a spokes person of NPO, the organization running Uitzending Gemist, saying: “We are legally obliged to report how many people we reach, and cookies are important to this goal. This is why our websites and on-line videos can only be made accessible to those who accept cookies.”

The public broadcasters are paid from general taxes. OPTA, the government watchdog for telecom issues, has been leaning heavy on the owners of publicly funded websites lately. The agency stated that government organisations have to set the right example.

One commenter at Arnoud Engelfriet’s blog said (and in my opinion he or she is right): “A law that was enacted to protect consumers is now being used to hijack consumers. […] In my opinion the law was set up to give people an actual choice—to allow cookies or not. Forcing visitors to allow cookies (or else the site cannot be visited) is absurd.”

See also:

Disclaimer: 24 Oranges has yet to determine how to apply the cookie law without inconveniencing its visitors.

Tags: , , , , , ,

August 9, 2012

Government snubs its own cookie law

Filed under: General,IT by Orangemaster @ 6:31 pm

Not only does the new cookie law confuse Dutch website owners, but the Dutch government who came up with it can’t be bothered to adhere to it either. Their argument is that they don’t need to follow the rules because the cookies are not being use for commercial purposes. Watchdog Opta disagrees and says that cookies can only be placed without permission if it impairs the functioning of a website or if it cannot offer certain services.

The cookies used on the government site are used to keep statistics, and therefore OPTA says they are a no-no. The government has conveniently failed to provide a counter-argument.

This definitely fits the description of “Do what the preacher preaches, but not what the preacher does”.

(Link:, screenshot: the Telegraaf cookie banner)

Tags: , , ,