Cookies are defined as a “small block of information exchanged between a website server and a user’s computer which is connected to the Internet, allowing the server of the visited website to recover statistical visit frequency data” (www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais).
Cookies are subjected to specific regulations, which in France are mainly geared towards protecting the private life of every web user, in accordance with the rules on the use of computer files and the freedom of information.
– The purpose of such cookies
– The means made available to web users to oppose to such tracers
The legislation provides that website owners first have to obtain the prior consent of web users before installing any cookies (after informing the web users and before installing any cookies).
Web users’ consents have a maximum validity period of 13 months.
– Advertising cookies
– Cookies used to collect personal data on social networks
– Audience measurement cookies
The law also provides for a few exceptions. In fact, there is no obligation to inform web users when cookies and tracers are:
– Used exclusively for electronic communication purposes
– Strictly needed for providing an online communication service at the express request of the web user
The above exceptions are very limited, and e-commerce website owners should always make sure, prior to putting any site on line, to strictly comply with the applicable legislation on cookies.