Norway: Datatilsynet issues letter to Ministry of Local Government and District Affairs to tighten cookie regulations
The Norwegian data protection authority ('Datatilsynet') announced, on 14 February 2022, that it had sent a letter to the Ministry of Local Government and District Affairs emphasising the importance of tightening up the cookie regulations in Norway. In particular, the Datatilsynet noted that in the letter it details the French data protection authority's ('CNIL') decisions to fine Google €150 million and Facebook €60 million for inadequately facilitating refusal of cookies, as issued on 31 December 2021. In addition, senior legal advisor Anders Obrestad, stated that "In our view, these cases address one of the main problems seen with consent boxes on the internet today. They are designed in ways that influence users to consent by making it more cumbersome and time consuming to not consent. Internet users visit very many websites in the course of a day, and in practice often choose the fastest and easiest option to get access to the content they want." Furthermore, the Datatilsynet outlined that in contrast to the practices for which Google and Facebook had been fined in France, the cookie practices would hardly have been considered problematic under the Norwegian cookie regulations, where illusory consents are allowed through pre-set browser settings. Hence, Anders Obrestad noted that these cases illustrate how unsustainable the current Norwegian regulation of cookies and similar tracking technologies is for protecting internet user's privacy.