Digital Law Up(to)date: Cookies on Belgian press sites - A first DPA decision against Roularta

BE Law

The Investigation Service of the Belgian Data Protection Authority (DPA) launched a broad investigation on the use of cookies by Belgian press sites. The DPA fined Roularta Media Group for several breaches of the GDPR on three of its websites.

The DPA published a first decision concerning Roularta Media Group and its cookies management on its websites and (the decision is only available in Dutch, see here).

The DPA fined the press group 50 000 euros for several breaches of the GDPR:

  • About sixty non-strictly necessary cookies were placed on the device of users before he could even give their consent;
  • The information given to users regarding cookies was not sufficient;
  • It was clearly more difficult to withdraw consent than to give it;
  • Several consent boxes were unchecked.

The DPA also specifies that statistical cookies are not to be considered as strictly necessary cookies. They must therefore be subject to consent before being placed on the device.

Since the investigation has affected most of the major Belgian media groups, further decisions by the DPA are expected soon.

This article was co-authored by Edouard Cruysmans in his capacity of Professional Support Lawyer at Stibbe.