Brussels, 24 April 2009
A united front of media and advertising industry organisations is calling on the EU institutions locked into protracted Trialogue negotiations to see sense and reject harmful wording which would hamper existing and new business models online. Furthermore, not only are the latest proposals disproportionate and ill advised, they also risk udermining the comprehensive and collaborative approach to dealing with the privacy issues envisaged by the institutions.
As part of the telecom reforms package a small minority of MEPs is championing amendments requiring a special notification when a cookie is placed. As a reminder, cookies are just small pieces of text and/or numbers, stored on a user’s computer by a web browser, containing the user’s settings, shopping cart contents, or other data used by websites to function efficiently, such as for authentication purposes, to help remember user names, passwords, choices of languages or family-safe modes,as well as to personalize content.
Neither the Parliament nor national governments have conducted a prior impact assessment of the economic or legal impact of new rules on cookies.
The Advertising Information Group, European Association of Communication Agencies, the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association,the European Publishers’ Council, the European Federation of Magazine Publishers, the Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing,the World Federation of Advertisers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and Euro-Ispa have joined together to fight against these changes.
Speaking on behalf of the European Publishers Council, the organization’s Chairman Francisco Pinto Balsemão said: "Users would be faced with repeated pop-up or virtual windows every time they visit a web page. This will not only slow down the provision of Internet services and diminishing the user experience, but impact negatively the further uptake of mobile internet, where functionality is key to the user experience."
He continued: "There is a grave danger that the wrong decision will be taken in the mistaken belief that this will improve consumer protection when all it will do is wreak economic damage to our businesses online. The result will be a meaningless click-through exercise that puts European industry into a competitive disadvantage. Industry shares the EU’s objective of preserving trust in the digital market place. But it is important that MEPs, governments and the Commission recognise that cookies play an essential, harmless role in supporting the technology behind our online business models and at the same time are positively helpful in terms of the user-experience."
In an effort to reach agreement on the overall telecoms package, these last minute changes could sacrifice the interest of the media and advertising businesses, consumers and the Internet economy as a whole.
For further information about cookies see below
Cookies have several roles:
- Protection – to ensure you are a genuine visitor and not someone else using your password.
- Authenticate and speed up your identification and e-commerce transactions, e.g. "remember" user names and passwords for websites for fast log-in.
- Store preferences, such as languages or family safe modes.
- Cap the frequency of advertising and to ensure that advertisements are rotated and not duplicated during any one visit to a site, and are relevant.
Recognising that education of users, and indeed policy makers, about cookies is essential, the IAB Europe set up already in 2001 a website (http://www.allaboutcookies.org) to increase users’ knowledge of their online safety and to provide practical information about how to set your browser to control cookies.
For any information, please contact:
AIG – Sue Eustace
10 Rue Berckmans 1060 Brussels
Phone: + 322 534 9036
EACA – Dominic Lyle
Boulevard Brand Whitlock, 152 1200 Brussels
Phone : +32 2 740 0711
Fax : +32 2 740 0717
ENPA – Carolin Wehrhahn
Square du Bastion 1 A 1050 Bruxelles
Phone : +32 2 551 01 90
Fax : +32 2 551 01 99
EPC – Angela Mills Wade 26 Avenue Livingstone 1000 Brussels
Phone: +32 2 231 1299
Fax: +32 2 230 7658
EuroISPA – Malcolm Hutty Rue Montoyer, 39 1000 Bruxelles
Phone : +32 2 503 22 65
Fax : +32 2 503 42 95
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
FAEP – David Mahon Square du Bastion 1 A 1050 Bruxelles
Phone: +32 (0)2 536 06 04
Fax: +32 (0)2 536 06 01
Email : email@example.com
FEDMA – Alastair Tempest 439 Avenue de Tervuren 1150 Brussels
Phone : +32 (0)2 778 99 22
Fax : +32 (0)2 779 42 69
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
IAB Europe – Kimon Zorbas Avenue Livingstone 26 1000 Brussels
Phone: +32 (0)494 34 91 68
Email : email@example.com
WFA – Malte Lohan Av. Louise 120 1050 Brussel Belgium
Phone: +32 (0)2 502 57 40