Faculty Seminar: Tracking Walls, Take-It-Or-Leave-It Choices, and EU Data Privacy Law

On Thursday 9 February 2017 from 13:00 to 14:00 there will be a faculty seminar with Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius and Candida Leone organised by the Amsterdam Research Institute for Legal Studies:

“Tracking Walls, Take-It-Or-Leave-It Choices, and EU Data Privacy Law “

Location: room C1.23

The structure of the faculty seminar is such that a researcher from one department in the law faculty presents the work of a researcher in another department, after which a discussion among all attendants follows. Due to their interdisciplinary approach the seminars have proven to deliver new and inspiring insights.

On 9 February, Candida Leone (PhD candidate at CSECL) will present the paper Tracking Walls, Take-It-Or-Leave-It Choices, and EU Data Privacy Law by Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius (postdoc researcher at IViR), together with co-authors Sanne Kruikemeier, Sophie C. Boerman and Natali Helberger.

In the paper, Borgesius and his co-authors explore the impact of take-it-or-leave-it choices on data privacy protection.

On the internet, we encounter take-it-or-leave-it choices regarding our privacy on a daily basis. Social network sites and email services typically require users to agree to a privacy statement or to terms and conditions – if people do not agree, they cannot use the service. Some websites use a tracking wall – a barrier that visitors can only pass if they agree to tracking by third parties. When confronted with such take-it-or-leave-it choices, many people tend to click ‘I agree’.

Borgesius and his co-authors conducted a survey that shows that most people find tracking walls unfair and unacceptable. They analyse under which conditions European data privacy law, including the new General Data Protection Regulation, allows tracking walls and similar take-it-or-leave-it choices. Additionally, they provide a list of circumstances to assess when a take-it-or-leave-it choice makes consent invalid. The authors also explore whether the rules in the new General Data Protection Regulation on take-it-or-leave-it choices are sufficient to protect privacy and related interests, or whether additional rules are needed. Finally, they give starting points for a discussion on whether tracking walls should be banned in certain contexts.

Laura Burgers, Vladislav Djanic, Sarah Eskens and Karoline Haug