An Important Update

Dear Followers Of This Blog ...

If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Saturday, August 01, 2015

EU Cookie Compliance, July 2015

In April 2015, Blogger blog owners first were faced with the requirements of the European Union, and their problem with cookies used by our blogs and websites.

Google released the CookieChoices website, and some useful tools which some blog owners used, to add a cookie notice banner, to their blogs.

In July 2015, Blogger added a cookie notice banner, to save blog owners the trouble of using the CookieChoices website tools.

The Blogger version of CookieChoices is - or could be - transparent to most Blogger blog owners.

European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.

As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies.

You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you. Learn more about this notice and your responsibilities.

Not all blog owners really understand the cookie advice notice.

This notice, and the Blogger cookie advice banner, goes a long way towards making the CookieChoices cookie advice banner transparently operational, on Blogger blogs.

Even so, the Blogger advice still confuses some blog owners.

You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays.

Not all blog owners are sure what that phrase means, nor how to comply with its advice.

Verifying the cookie notice banner - for standard Blogger blogs - is not difficult. If your blog can be successfully verified, your blog is compliant.

EU residents will see the notice, when they first view a blog.

Residents of EU countries will see the notice when looking at any compliant blog or website, the first time that they view that blog or website. Similarly, owners of Blogger blogs, who live in a EU country, will see the notice automatically, the first time they look at their blog.

People who do not live in the EU will have to take other measures, to verify that the notice is active, on their blogs. Verification is not difficult - though there are two techniques - and both techniques won't work, for all blogs.


Verify your blog, depending upon how it's published.


Verifying a BlogSpot published blog

Thanks to the Blogger country code alias redirection, a Blogger blog owner who publishes to BlogSpot can verify their blog, by viewing an alias that's relevant for any EU country.

I'll use my test mirror of this blog, Blogger Status For Real - BlogSpot, as an example.

If you view "Blogger Status For Real - BlogSpot" in the USA, you will see it using the URL of "blogger-status-for-real.blogspot.com". In Ireland, however, you will see "blogger-status-for-real.blogspot.ie" - and many (but not all) world countries are similarly aliased. Read here for an explanation why Blogger uses aliases.

Since Ireland is part of the European Union, their residents need to see the cookie notice.


You can click on the above 5 alias links, and compare the differences.


My test blog, in native view. See the absence of the cookie notice?

My test blog, as seen in Ireland (".ie"). See the cookie notice, at the top?
This is how simple it is, to verify compliance, with a BlogSpot published Blogger blog.


Verifying a custom domain published blog

Owners of custom domain published blogs will use a different approach. Custom domains do not use country code aliases - so custom domain compliance verification can't, either. In this case, you will need a proxy server based in a EU country, to simulate viewing in an EU country.

Blogger Engineering suggests use of GeoPeeker, which is a multi-proxy service which randomly shows you any blog or website, using a set of 6 proxy sites. Generally 1 of the 6 proxies, provided in the free GeoPeeker service, will be located in a EU country.

  • Singapore
  • São Paulo, Brazil
  • Virginia, United States
  • California, United States
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • Noida, India
  • Karlskrona, Sweden
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Halifax, Canada

Of the above list, you could use either Dublin (Ireland), Frankfurt (Germany), Karlskrona (Sweden), or London (UK) to view your blog and verify cookie compliance. This list may change, periodically. The free version of GeoPeeker gives you a view of your blog, using a random 6 of the above 12, automatically.


This blog, seen in thumbnail view, with 6 of the GeoPeeker proxies.

You can click on each thumbnail, to see the blog in full size.

This blog, seen by the GeoPeeker Dublin, Ireland proxy. See the cookie notice, at the top?
Just use either technique, as applicable to your blog. View your blog, and see that it displays the cookie choice notice.

If your blog displays the notice, it is compliant - so get back to work. If it does not display the notice, more work will be needed. Right now, we'll address the latter, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.

Once you know that the basic banner is operational, spend time researching additional possibilities.

Dude, hit me with a comment!

Marias Nail Art said...

Thanks for this post.
I know it's embarrassing, but I still am not quite sure.
I have a normal blogspot blog, and the cookie line appears, and I tried changing the country code at the end of my blogs address to other countries (the GeoPeeker didn't work for me), and the notification is there on all of them.
So I don't have to do anything, right?
Also I pretty much visit the same blogs every day, and even if I did click the OK on all of them, the notification frequently reappears. Do you know why?

Chuck Croll said...

Hi Maria,

Thanks for your question.

Since you live in Denmark, you don't need to use GeoPeeker or change the URL, you ARE a EU resident, and you will see the cookie notices - as you noted.

Here's your GeoPeeker URL, anyway:

https://geopeeker.com/fetch/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmariasnailpolishblog.blogspot.com%2F

If you are clicking on "OK" and the notices keep coming back, you have a cookie filter problem. If the cookie can't be stored on your computer, the script has no way of knowing that you have already been there.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2015/01/security-problems-affect-many-blogger.html

Chuck Croll said...

Maria,

At any rate, if you see the cookie notice on your blog (as I do in GeoPeeker), your blog is compliant, and you don't have to do anything.

Marias Nail Art said...

Thank you so much Chuck, I'm happy I don't have to do anything LOL
I mean I can read instructions of course, but without a step by step explanation I'm lost because I don't understand the meaning of the "technical words and terms"...
I got a new laptop a week ago, so I'll ask my friend who set it up and moved all my photos etc. from the old one, where I can fix the cookie problem.
Interestingly enough it's not every time I visit the blogs, only maybe every second or third time...
But again, thanks a lot, you lifted a stone from my old shoulders :)

Sarah Benton Feitlinger said...

The way I understand this, if I might have other cookies outside of Google (I have affiliate links to Amazon and places like that). Further action should be taken? Does anyone know?
Thanks for the Geopeeker lead, that helped me see what the cookie notification looked like.

Chuck Croll said...

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for the feedback!

Anybody who surfs outside Google will have cookies outside Google. It's one reason why I try to recommend "clear cache and cookies" after trying everything else.

It's possible to clear cookies selectively - if you know exactly what to clear - but you have to be 100% accurate when you do that. Leave one Google cookie uncleared - or clear one cookie that you shouldn't - and you can hurt yourself worse.

So for safety, I just suggest clearing all cookies when you clear cache - and only clear cookies with nothing else to try.

Sarah Benton Feitlinger said...

Hi Chuck,
Thanks for the response, although I guess I was confusing with what I said. I have a blog through blogger. Since I have monetized my blog with links to other companies that have tracking cookies, do I have to put some other sort of notice besides the one Google already put on my blog in order to comply to the EU law? My understanding is that the Google notice is covering cookies that Google is responsible for.
Thanks!

Chuck Croll said...

Sarah,

Hmm, that is definitely a different question!

the whole EU Cookie issue is not yet well defined, IMHO. Google has defined theirs - because they have a mass of domains - and a mass of cookies, that traverse those domains.

Every website has cookies - but not all cookies will have the same privacy implications. But, you should check out what you have.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2009/04/many-faces-of-google.html

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2015/08/eu-cookie-compliance-august-2015.html

Sarah Benton Feitlinger said...

Thanks! It seems everyone is in the same boat with their understanding of it. I appreciate your time!

Kristi said...

Thank you! I didn't know about GeoPeeker--that was exactly what I needed to verify that my blog is compliant!

Barbara Carvallo said...

Thank you very much. You have helped me no end.

B

Vicky Lynn said...

Thank you for mentioning GeoPeeker! Now, I know the cookie notice is showing on my custom domain blog in the EU.

Vicky

Zebbie Reed said...

Thank you for mentioning GeoPeeker!

Zebbie