Global online companies may face some new challenges in operating in Europe.
 
Digital-privacy agencies from the European Union’s member countries met late last week to discuss how to apply privacy laws to “cookies”-- small Internet files used to remember things about users, The Wall Street Journal reports.
 
Cookies are the reason an ad for Zappos may appear on a separate website after you’ve been searching for a new pair of shoes online. New EU guidelines--set for release as early as this week--will make it clearer which cookies websites will need user consent to deploy.
 
According to the new guidelines, cookies used to show users targeted ads (like the Zappos example) will likely require user consent, the Journal reports: "There's absolutely no ambiguity that you need consent for those kinds of cookies," Alain Pannetrat, a representative of France's privacy agency, told the paper.
 
Some industries are complaining already, however, arguing that blanket tracking rules will hurt business, particularly for online retailers.