What’s Facebook’s new ‘Privacy Center’?

Posted on January 13, 2022

In a move that will provide its users with more transparency when it comes to how their data is used, Meta is releasing a new ‘Privacy Center’ feature on (more…)

Posted by Emily Jones

“Cookie banner terror” creates data protection concerns

Posted on June 3, 2021

Privacy group is currently attempting to propose up to 10,000 complaints against unclear opt-out options on cookie notices on multiple firms’ sites, claiming that they are violating General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines.

Noyb, short of “none of your business”, is a privacy collective advocated by Max Schrems. The apparent “cookie banner terror” involves hundreds of companies making it deliberately difficult for users to opt-out of being tracked from site to site in a third-party advertising tracking strategy. Many websites encourage user consent by altering the design of the cookie banner, often highlighting “accept all” in big, green font, or making it awkward for users to change privacy and data protection settings.

Noyb stated:

“…by law, users must be given a clear yes/no option. As most banners do not comply with the requirements of the GDPR, noyb developed a software that recognizes various types of unlawful cookie banners and automatically generates complaints.”

Noyb’s automated system has already submitted 560 draft complaints, 81% of which were to do with not offering a “deny” option for website cookies on the initial banner, instead hiding it in a secondary page. Noyb stated another 90% failed to provide an easy way to revoke consent and 73% used misleading colours to confuse users into accepting the terms. Companies are given up to a month, after receiving the complaint, to respond and change their software settings to comply with GDPR law. If ignored, the company could risk a fine of either £17.5m or 4% of their global revenue.

Could GDPR be clearer?

GDPR is all about the protection of personal data of EU citizens, forbidding that data to be used by third parties without consent and giving citizens greater control over their personal information and protection options. GDPR’s guidelines dictate that users should be given a “yes” or “no” option in giving consent to their privacy and data, but there are no obvious rules established to how companies offer these options to users, with many companies discovering misleading designs to trick users into accepting website cookies. Noyb argues that these methods are “frustrating” users into simply consenting.

GDPR is not without its faults, but it applies to every organisation in the EU, including the UK even though Brexit has now come into effect. As stated by noyb, the consequences for not complying by GDPR regulations can seriously damage your business’ reputation and overall success. Today, almost all companies are involved with customer and employee data, meaning companies need to abide by data protection rules more than ever.

To learn more about GDPR settings and privacy policies within website management, and what we can do to make sure your site is compliant, contact a member of the Engage Web team.

Posted by Lucy Cornelissen

European call for single coronavirus tracking system

Posted on April 9, 2020

The data protection watchdog for Europe has called for just one coronavirus app to be used throughout the European Union, as opposed to each nation creating its own.

Many countries all over the world are currently developing coronavirus tracking apps, but a number of privacy advocates are now warning of the dangers and threats these apps may pose. The European Data Protection Supervisor explained that a single EU app built with strong data protection features may be the best solution when seeking to track the virus.

The supervisor, Wojciech Wiewiórowski, said that the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) allows the processing of private and sensitive information when it is in the best interest of public health. He warned that national tools would not be the answer and that there is big responsibility when it comes to handling this kind of data.

Wiewiórowski’s home country of Poland has come under criticism for a quarantine app that it has developed, which tracks the location of a user whilst they are in self-isolation. Over the Atlantic in the US, a digital rights organisation called the Electronic Frontier Foundation has issued its own warning that governments around the world are demanding more surveillance powers in a bid to try and contain the coronavirus. It also highlights the need to cease these powers once the pandemic comes to an end.

It is believed that Ireland will be rolling out an app in the next couple of weeks on a voluntary basis, and the UK is considering its own options now that it has formally left the EU.

Wiewiórowski said that his office knows that many EU nations are in the process of developing mobile apps, and taking differing approaches. Wiewiórowski highlights that some use Bluetooth for contact tracking and points out that this seems to be a useful path. He does, however, believe that a single app should be coordinated within Europe.

He would also like the World Health Organization to be involved in its development and explained that any measures that involve public data should only be temporary, limited in their purpose, have restricted access and have a purpose.

Since the UK is no longer part of the EU, it is not subject to any EU initiative, but Wiewiórowski says that his office is in consultation with UK authorities as well as others from the US, New Zealand and Latin America.

UK health officials have confirmed that they were exploring the idea of an app and would only act on advice from the government’s scientific advisors, who believe that location tracking can play a vital role. They also believe that no-one should be forced to sign up to anything.

For many businesses, tracking specific actions, goals and conversions can help generate more sales and in the unprecedented times brought by the coronavirus pandemic, this may be more important than ever. If you need help converting business online, get in touch with Engage Web.

Posted by Alan Littler

Over a third of SMEs think GDPR doesn’t apply to them

Posted on March 6, 2020

The May 2018 introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may now seem a distant memory, but a survey from the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) indicates that small businesses’ knowledge and application of the legislation is still not at the levels it should be.

Commenting on the findings of the ‘SMBs and GDPR’ report released (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Are hundreds of UK councils in breach of GDPR?

Posted on February 6, 2020

An investigation has shown that over 400 UK councils and local authorities are sharing information about their websites’ visitors, prompting its authors to call for greater enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The ‘Surveillance on UK council websites’ report was compiled by browser and software company Brave, and claims that councils are allowing (more…)

Posted by John Murray

What can we expect from a post-Brexit internet?

Posted on February 3, 2020

So, it’s happened. Three and a half years after the 2016 referendum, Britain has left the European Union and now enters what is being called a “transition” period expected to last until the end of 2020.

We’ve all argued until we’re red, white and blue in the face about whether or not it was the right decision, but the time has now come to (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Three important steps you can take on Data Privacy Day

Posted on January 28, 2020

Of all the fun and novelty days on the calendar, Data Privacy Day may not be one to set the pulse racing, but with cybercrime growing by the year and a recent report making some damning conclusions about the general public’s online security practices, it might well be one of the most important.

Marked every year on January 28, the day was set up by (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Twitter postpones account purge

Posted on November 28, 2019

Less than 24 hours after announcing plans for a mass purge of the site, microblogging site Twitter has revealed that it will pause its actions following (more…)

Posted by Alan Littler
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