Cookie consent comes from the EU Directive 2002/58/EC. The directive, which all member nations adopted, essentially tasked individual governments with setting up laws supporting cookie consent. With a few exceptions, the laws generally require you to get informed consent from users for any non-essential cookies.
Essential cookies would be things like ensuring safety during online banking. Non-essential cookies are basically anything that’s not integral to the functioning of the website. AKA all ad tracking cookies.
Technically, the law applies to any websites based in or targeting EU member states. Now, because of the difficulties of enforcement, you probably don’t need to care if you’re outside the EU. But if you’re based in the EU, you should be taking this law seriously. Though they don’t seem to be a frequent occurrence, there have been some very real fines handed out as a result of the laws.
Most sites typically inform users by a simple notification bar with consent buttons and a link to more information.
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