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Belgium: DPA reaches settlements with media websites to adjust cookie banners

On December 1, 2023, the Data Protection Authority (Belgian DPA) published four settlements with media websites concerning their use of cookies, following complaints submitted by None Of Your Business (NOYB).

The settlements were reached with the following companies:

  • Les Editions de l'Avenir Presse SRL (L'Avenir);
  • Radio Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française (RTBF);
  • Mediafin NV; and
  • IPM Group.

Background to the settlements

Earlier this year, NOYB filed complaints against a number of Belgian media companies over how their websites used cookies and cookie banners. NOYB alleged, among other things, that the companies employed misleading cookie banners and obscure models.

The Belgian DPA offered settlements to both the complainant and the demanded companies, to which both parties were able to respond.

Findings of the Belgian DPA

After analyzing the responses to the settlement offers, the Belgian DPA decided on the terms of the settlements. The Belgian DPA rejected NOYB's requests to alter the conditions of the settlements, including a request to impose fines on the companies.

Outcomes

In particular, the settlements imposed obligations on the demanded companies regarding changes to their website's cookie banners, notably to:

  • provide a 'refuse all' button beside the 'accept all' button;
  • refrain from making the 'accept all' button visually bolder than other options; and
  • guarantee that the procedure to revoke consent does not require more clicks than to give consent.

Except for Mediafin, the Belgian DPA also required the companies to implement transparency in regard to the use of strictly necessary or technical cookies under legitimate interests and the impact that revoking consent has on those types of cookies.

Companies have one month from the date of the settlements to implement the changes on their websites.

You can read the settlement with L'Avenir here, with RTBF here, with IPM Group here, all only available in French, and the settlement with Mediafin, only available in Dutch, here.

Update: December 13, 2023

Belgium: DPA reaches settlement with Vlaamse Radio over cookies

On December 5, 2023, the Belgian DPA published a settlement with the Vlaamse Radio en Televisieomroeporganisatie NV over the use of cookies on their website, following a complaint submitted by NOYB. 

The settlement imposed on Vlaamse Radio the obligation to:

  • provide a 'refuse all' button beside the 'accept all' button; and 
  • refrain from making the 'refuse all' button visually less attractive than other options.

Vlaamse Radio has one month from the date of the settlement decision to implement the changes on its website.

You can read the settlement, only available in Dutch, here

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