ECJ Judgment on Cookies: How Jimdo is Getting Your Site Ready

New EU rules about website cookies

More privacy for your visitors, important news for your website: The German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) has adopted the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision on the use of tracking tools and cookies.

Based on previous legislation, cookies were activated by default on most websites and visitors could object to or “opt-out” of cookies. According to the Fashion ID ECJ ruling, certain tools, trackers, and cookies may only be used if visitors actively agree to them or “opt-in.”

The ruling of the ECJ in the “Planet 49”, which has now been adopted by the German Federal court goes one step further and completely confirms that anyone visiting a website must actively agree to the use of all cookies, except those that are strictly necessary.

In this article, we explain what the ECJ decisions mean for you and some changes we’ll be making to keep your website compliant.

What’s a cookie? Cookies are small files that can be stored in an internet user’s browser. Cookies allow websites or servers to recognize users, track activities, and create statistics.

CJEU: Visitors must consent to different types of cookies

The Fashion- ID decision from the European Court of Justice was triggered by a dispute over Facebook’s “like” button, which users can also include on their websites. More specifically, it concerned the question, “Who is responsible for the data collected by this button?” Is it the person who owns the website or is it Facebook?

The decision: Facebook and the website owner are both responsible. Many legal experts have inferred a general opinion from this judgment, which applies to all cookies: website visitors must, in their opinion, actively agree to the use of cookies, plug-ins, online marketing, and tracking tools. Experts have coined this the “opt-in obligation.”

Please note that Jimdo cannot and does not offer legal advice. In case of uncertainty, we recommend contacting a legal expert.

The “opt-in obligation” lets visitors decide

You might have heard about the “opt-in obligation” in the media—but what does it mean? 

The opt-in requirement means that visitors must be asked if they agree to the use of cookies before the cookies are activated. This gives internet users more control over their privacy when they’re online.

You’ve probably already seen the “opt-in” feature on other websites. Usually, a message or “cookie banner” pops up giving you the option to accept or reject the use of cookies.

Jimdo will update the cookie notice on your website

The ECJ rulings affect all websites for EU users—whether you have a Facebook button or not.

The main difference will be the granular cookie banner:

  • The cookie preferences are set directly in the banner
  • Visitors can select / opt in to categories of cookies (performance, marketing etc.) as well as individual cookies
  • The cookie banner does not disappear, but is displayed until the user accepts or rejects the cookies
  • Only “Necessary cookies” are selected as the default setting, all other cookies must be actively selected by the user.
  • The Cookie Policy will be directly transposed into the cookie banner. so the subpage on your website will eventually be removed
  • You can customize the general description of the cookie notice under System Pages > Cookie Banner
An example of the cookie banner on an Jimdo website.
An example of what the new cookie banner looks like.

If you’re using Jimdo Creator, please remember that the “opt-in” function for cookies must be enabled on your site for the GDPR compliant cookie banner to be shown. You can add cookies  to your cookie notice under Settings > Privacy & Security > Use of Cookies and Add Cookie.

Your statistics require cookies

If you notice any fluctuations in your website traffic in the coming days, this might be related to the new decision from the ECJ. Statistics can only be collected for visitors who agree to the use of cookies. 

But don’t worry, according to one study, only five percent of users in the EU reject the use of cookies. So you can relax, knowing that any effect on your traffic should be minor.

How will this change your Privacy Policy?

As always, we recommend contacting a legal expert if you’re unsure, as we cannot offer you legal advice or using our Legal Text Generator to ensure your legal texts are GDPR-compliant

Your Privacy Policy could be the same as before. It’s important that you consider all the services you use on your website, including Facebook’s “Like” button. So it’s worth checking regularly to see if something needs fine-tuning because of changes to your website or legal changes. 

With Jimdo, your website is well-prepared for changes in European Cookie laws and legal updates, so you can get back to running your business. We hope this article has given you a good overview of how your website will change following the ECJ ruling!

Bring your business online with Jimdo.

Markus Bruhn
Markus is an editor in the communications team at Jimdo. He previously worked as an author for various media companies in the areas of e-commerce, mobility, and sports. When he's not working, his interests extend to football, music and good books.
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