On May 4, 2020, the European Data Protection Board (the "EDPB") adopted the "Guidelines 05/2020 on consent under Regulation 2016/679" (the "EDPB Guidelines"). The Guidelines are a revised version of the Article 29 Working Party guidelines on the same topic (the "WP29 Guidelines"), which were already endorsed by the EDPB on April 18, 2018.1

The revisions primarily address the (non)validity of consent in cases of cookie walls, as well as the fact that scrolling down or swiping through webpages cannot be considered as providing valid consent.

  • Cookie walls. The EDPB Guidelines now provide a specific example in relation to cookie walls in the section dealing with the "conditionality of consent." The EDPB Guidelines clarify that allowing content of a website to be visible only upon the condition of receiving consent from the visitor for the placement of cookies is not an option for obtaining valid consent under GDPR.
  • Scrolling or swiping. The EDPB Guidelines add that "under no circumstances" can scrolling or swiping meet the requirements of a clear and affirmative action and therefore provide a valid consent. Building on the WP29 position, the EDPB acknowledges that mere scrolling may be difficult to distinguish from other actions or interaction by a user, which makes it even harder to demonstrate that an unambiguous consent has been given. Adding to what was said in the WP29 Guidelines, the EDPB underlines that such situations would make it difficult to provide a way to withdraw consent in a way "as easy" as that in which the initial consent was given (another aspect of valid consent under GDPR).

Persistent misconceptions pointed out by the recent report issued by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner2 or the recent spread of cookies and consent guidelines issued by national supervisory authorities3 could explain why the EDPB decided to revisit its previously issued guidelines. The fact that the EDPB is engaging in such path should be praised; we consent for the EDPB to pursue and will continue to browse its website to look up for more; "undoing" and "redoing" is still working.


1 For our insights on the WP29 Guidelines, check out our previous Legal Update.

2 For our insight on that report, check out our previous Legal Update.

3 See for example, the recently issued guidelines by national supervisory authorities from IrelandGreece, Belgium, DenmarkSpain, Germany, France, the UK or the Netherlands.