What is the difference between consent and contract, and why does it matter whether a data element is processed based on contract or consent?

To an end-user, checking a consent box and accepting a contract may feel very similar, but legally these are two distinct concepts. Each one is a separate legal basis with unique applicabilities and limitations. Any data elements that Tucows or the registry/service provider requires in order to provide a TLD or other product will be processed on a contract basis, meaning they’ll be included in our contractual agreement with the registrant. We do not need to send a consent request to process these data.

Any additional pieces of data, those that are not contractually required but are helpful to have, or have been requested by the registry but not included in their contractual requirements, can only be processed with consent from the registrant. We are also obligated to provide registrants an easy and accessible method to revoke this consent. Our Data use consent settings page accomplishes both of these tasks: collecting registrant consent, and providing them a means to revoke it. Asynchronous services are a special case in this regard because although Tucows doesn’t require these additional, consent-based data, the registry or service provider does, despite the fact that they have not provided a contractual legal basis for processing them.

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