Google introduced a “reject all” cookie button for Search and YouTube. Google launched in France a cookie banner enabling users to use Search and YouTube and “REJECT ALL” the cookies used for personalizing content and ads, measuring their effectiveness, or developing or improving new Google services. With the new cookie banner design, users are expected to have the option to set, reject or accept cookies with the same level of ease.

The new cookie banner will be extended to all the European Union countries and, additionally, to Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, the U.K, and Switzerland.

Before and after

Figure 1 – Banner reviewed by the CNIL in its Délibération SAN-2021-023 du 31 décembre 2021

Figure 2 – Banner roll out by Google in April 2022

The cookie banner with the “REJECT ALL” option replaces a banner that only displayed options to Customise and Agree and required a 5-step procedure to reject all cookies, which discouraged users from doing so and encouraged them to opt for the easier I agree button.

Cookies for target advertisement, personalization, etc., are planted on users’ terminals based on their consent which, in the case of cookies, is gathered through banners. However, consent, according to Art. 4 Para. 11 and Art. 7, GDPR, has some special requirements; for instance, it must be free. In this regard, recital 42 states that: “Consent should not be regarded as freely given if the data subject has no genuine or free choice or is unable to refuse or withdraw consent without detriment”.

The lack of a Reject all button and the fact that rejecting cookies on Google’s search engine and YouTube is significantly harder than accepting them was analyzed by the French data protection supervisory authority, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) and recently led to a fine of 90 million euros for GOOGLE LLC and 60 million euros for GOOGLE IRELAND LIMITED. According to the CNIL, the cookie banner did not allow users to accept and reject information with the same level of simplicity.

The decision and the changes it brought for such a large company (Google Search has a 92% share of the global search engine market and YouTube is the world’s leading online video sharing platform), shows that the GDPR provides mechanisms for authorities to enforce the right to privacy and shape tools playing a crucial role on web users’ privacy and it is likely to encourage other companies to follow suit and adopt a banner in line with GDPR standards.

2022 cookie banner tips:

In 2022 several data protection authorities issued guidelines or decisions on cookie banners. Below we highlight some of them:

CNIL: Banners should provide an equivalent solution (refusing as easy as accepting) enabling Internet users to easily refuse the deposit of cookies.

EDPB: Banners should not contain confusing toggles such as using a green button for NO and red for YES.

Datatilsynet: Users should not be lured into providing consent by the size, color or location of the buttons.

EDPB: Multiple banners in different languages must be consistent.