By Sohini Banerjee and KS Roshan Menon
A cookie refers to a small text file that is placed on one’s device by the website being browsed. Effectively, it enables a website to “remember” the individual. For example, a website may deploy cookies to retain items added to a user’s shopping cart, and display them on the next visit. The information stored by cookies may include name, e-mail address and IP address. Cookies enable businesses to glean important insights on their users’ online activity, thus ensuring the smooth running of the digital world. However, the data rich nature of cookies also means that individuals may be profiled and identified sans their consent.
In this piece, we undertake a comparative study to understand the future of cookie regulation in India. Our analysis is qualitative, and based on the comparison of four jurisdictions which are most suitable to inform such regulation, namely the United Kingdom (‘U.K.’), Ireland, Canada and Singapore. The object of our analysis is to identify the critical elements of cookie regulation in these jurisdictions, and analyse the desirability of adopting such regulation in India.