Lino Mirgeler / dpa
The consumer advice centers in Germany have issued warnings to almost 100 companies.
In the opinion of consumer advocates, the companies have illegally obtained the consent of users to collect their data while surfing the web.
In an investigation of 949 websites, ten percent of the companies in their cookie banners, with which they ask for consent to data collection, clearly violated the requirements of the Telemedia Act (TMG) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
This was announced by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) on Friday in Berlin.
The campaign examined websites from different industries such as travel, grocery delivery services and insurance.
In addition to the clearly illegal banners, there were also many overlays that were in a legal gray area.
"At first glance, the banners looked admissible, but tried using tricks to guide the decision of the site users."
The consumer advocates sent 98 warnings for clear violations of the TMG and the GDPR.
In two thirds of the cases, the companies have now issued a cease and desist declaration.
The companies that have been warned include providers of food delivery services and online music services, as well as companies in the fitness industry.
Cookies are small text files that websites store on users' computers.
They can be used, for example, to store login data, but also to make users recognizable.
With the help of the tiny files, individual profiles can be created that allow conclusions to be drawn about surfing behavior and preferences of people.
This information is then used, for example, to personalize advertising.
The vzbv board member Klaus Müller said that illegal cookie banners are not a trivial offense.
"The increasing data snooping endangers the privacy of consumers: inside and leads to the well-screened citizen."
In the summer, the international data protection association Noyb, headed by the Austrian lawyer Max Schrems, took legal action against website operators in Germany because of inadequate cookie banners.
mak / dpa