Google Says U.S. Adsense Publishers Must Comply with EU Cookie Rules

EU Cookie Rules

Just because your business is outside the European Union, doesn’t mean you can flaunt the new EU cookie rules.

At least that’s the position Google is taking with regards to its Adsense Publishers.

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Google has given U.S. Adsense Publishers — and those from any other country outside the European Union — a little under two months to comply with the new EU cookie rules.

The new regulations say Adsense users in the United States have until September 30 to follow its “user consent” policy.

In a message to publishers on its official Inside AdSense blog, the Google Policy Team says:

“This requires that you obtain EU end users’ consent to the storing and accessing of cookies and other information, and to the data collection, sharing and usage that takes place when you use Google products.”

The message continues:

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“It does not affect any provisions on data ownership in your contract. If your site or app does not have a compliant consent mechanism, you should implement one now. To make this process easier for you, we have compiled some helpful resources at This policy change is being made in response to best practice and regulatory requirements issued by the European data protection authorities. These requirements are reflected in changes that have been recently made on Google’s own websites.”

Google says the rules require consent when using products such as Google AdSense, DoubleClick for Publishers, and DoubleClick Ad Exchange. The company says the move is happening to reflect “regulatory and best practice guidance.”

Cookie laws were passed in the European Union in 2011, and went into effect the following year. They require any sites based in or accessible to European nations provide information about the use of tracking technology on the site and the purpose of that technology.

The laws also require websites to give users the option of choosing whether or not to be tracked. When the laws were passed, sites began adding pop-up messages asking visitors to opt in or specifically consent to cookies.

But until recently, the laws were largely ignored by websites in the U.S. and other countries outside the EU.

The news about the EU cookie law came the same week Google said it disagreed with a French watchdog group’s order to extend the “right to be forgotten” to its websites.

According to a Bloomberg News report, a court ruling last year said people had the right “to seek the deletion of links on search engines if the information was outdated or irrelevant.”

Google issued a statement this week saying the watchdog group, Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL), had exceeded its authority, something Google privacy counsel Peter Fleischer called “a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the Web.”

If you are concerned about whether your site is compliant with the EU regulation, Google recommends visiting its help center and also reading the IAB’s guide (PDF) to the e-privacy directive.

Google Building Photo via Shutterstock

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Tom Coombe Tom Coombe is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a professional writer for over 15 years, spending most of that time covering news in the Lehigh Valley. He's worked as a reporter for the Allentown Morning Call and an editor for AOL's news service. Tom has also freelanced for WFMZ, the Produce Marketing Association and a number of other publications.

3 Reactions
  1. So they plan to just put US Adsense publishers on the same page as UK ones. I guess this is a way to track the activity in websites.

  2. It’s a big move for Google to bow to EU pressure on anything, but AdSense is a big part of the AdWords money machine and you can’t ignore the large population in the EU. So I guess the almighty dollar won again.

  3. I will just block EU countries rather than mess with a cookie pop up.