Advertising Cookies Hosted on Council Website
Dudley Council hosts third party advertising cookies on their online benefits page, an independent review has found.
02:47 15 February 2020
BBC’s Shared Data Unit has found that Dudley Council and a number of other local authorities are hosting third party advertising cookies on their website. The cookies are used to track users around the internet and help companies deliver adverts relevant to their browsing habits. Of the 54per cent of councils found to be hosting such cookies, two thirds do not appear to ask for the correct form of consent as mandated under current privacy laws.
According to Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, a publisher must ask for a legal consent from the user who must then make an active decision to either accept or decline cookies as they browse the website.
Councillor Simon Phipps, Dudley Councils cabinet member responsible for ICT services, said: “We are aware of the independent research into websites across the country and are reviewing the content of the report to see how it relates to Dudley Council.
"Our website is monitored and reviewed regularly to ensure it meets all legal and accessibility requirements, including through independent advisory groups such as society for innovation, technology and modernisation (SocITM).”
Many of the third party advertising cookies found on Dudley Council's website were linked to Google.
A Google spokesman said: “Google does not build advertising profiles from sensitive interest categories, including from sites offering benefits such as welfare or unemployment, and we have strict policies preventing advertisers from using such data to target ads.
“We require publishers using Google’s advertising products to obtain consent for cookies from European users, and take action against non-compliant publishers including suspension or termination.”