Dutch regulator OPTA plans on cookie supervision by automated means

23 July 2012

Gerrit-Jan Zwenne, Berend van der Eijk

Last week, the Dutch telecom regulator OPTA has confirmed that it will resort to automated means to aid them with the supervision of the new Dutch cookie regime. This confirmation follows to questions raised by a recent job posting on OPTA's website, regarding the development of a "cookiemonitor".

The cookiemonitor is likely to scan websites in a similar fashion to web crawlers for the use and placement of cookies. A spokesperson of OPTA stated in an interview that "Sites that place cookies without consent, which are hard to remove by the user, will be fined promptly". This likely refers to the use of Flash-cookies or similar techniques. OPTA further stated that "sites that commit less serious offences are likely to receive a warning first."

The cookiemonitor is still in development. Meanwhile, OPTA has released a FAQ's on cookies (translated in English by Bird & Bird), but has thus far refrained from any know actions of enforcement. It is our expectation that enforcement will increase the coming months, with support of the aforementioned cookiemonitor. To our knowledge only OPTA has resorted to automated means for the supervision of the new cookie regulation. Nonetheless, the various Telecom- and Data Protection Authorities are in close contact through European bodies such as BEREC and the Article 29 Working Party. This could result in other countries using similar techniques to monitor their respective cookie regimes.

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Gerrit-Jan Swenne


Beren van der Eijk