Legal uncertainty with regard to online tracking: website operators receive warning notices

In August, an Austrian law firm began sending dozens of warnings to website operators on behalf of an Internet user. The letters claim that the prior consent of the user required for the use of tracking tools has not been obtained. In addition to the submission of a declaration of discontinuance, the deletion of the user data and the payment of a total sum of money clearly in the five-digit range are required.
The legal opinion on which the warnings are based is also represented, at least in principle, by German supervisory authorities. One focus of the letters sent so far apparently lies on eCommerce websites – especially in this industry, however, only a fraction of website operators actually obtain the consent of their users for tracking for advertising and analysis purposes.
We strongly recommend that companies affected by such warnings seek expert advice before making a cease-and-desist declaration or payment.