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Opt-In vs. Opt-Out

What does it mean to opt-in? What does it mean to opt-out? What is difference between opt-in and opt-out? Here’s a very quick overview over these concepts.

Opt-In vs. Opt-Out

What does it mean to opt-in?

“Opt-in” is the process used to describe when a positive action is required in order to subscribe a user to a newsletter list, for example. The most common way to implement opt-in methods is through checkboxes. Usually, opt-in is the regime that is used under European and Canadian data protection rules.

Under EU law (both GDPR and Cookie Law/ePrivacy), even when consent is given, people have the right to opt out and should always be informed of how they can do that.

What does it mean to opt-out?

When someone has opted out, it generally means that they’ve indicated a preference to not be included in something. A common scenario is where users opt-out of an email list by unsubscribing or where Californian consumers opt out of having their personal information shared or sold under CCPA provisions.

What’s the difference between opt-in and opt-out?

Opt-in means that a user must take a positive or affirmative action before being included in something (e.g. a user has opted in if they sign-up to an email list or click “Accept” on a cookie banner).

Opt-out means that a user can bee included in something without the need of any action on their part (e.g including a US-based user on an email list under CAN-SPAM provisions). Under most opt-out regimes, users must be given the possibility to opt-out easily.

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