Monday, 28 May 2012

New Cookie Law: Thousands of Websites Currently in Breach of It


This is a snippet from a very interesting story on the BBC website in regards to cookies (text files used by companies - particularly advertisers - to record information).


"Thousands of UK websites are now in breach of a law that dictates what they can log about visitors.  European laws that define what details sites can record in text files called cookies came into force on 26 May.  The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it would offer help to non-compliant sites rather than take legal action against them.



Action plan
The regulations say websites must get "informed consent" from users before they record any detailed information in the cookies they store on visitors' computers.


Among websites that have complied with the law, getting consent has involved a pop-up box that explains the changes. Users are then asked to click to consent to having information recorded and told what will happen if they refuse.


UK firms have had 12 months to prepare for the change and the ICO has spent much of that time reminding businesses about their obligations.


The ICO has also updated its policy to allow organisations to use "implied consent" to comply. This means users do not have to make an explicit choice. Instead, their continued use of a site would be taken to mean they are happy for information to be gathered.


However, it was a "concern" for the ICO that so many sites were not yet compliant, said Dave Evans, group manager at the ICO who has led its work on cookies in the last 18 months. However, he added, it was not necessarily easy for companies to comply with the laws because of the amount of work it involved.


On busy sites, he said, an audit of current cookie practices could take time because of the sheer number of cookie files they regularly issue, monitor and update.


Mr Evans said the ICO was expecting sites that were not compliant to be able to demonstrate what work they had done in the last year to get ready.


Fines for non-compliance were unlikely to be levied, he said, because there was little risk that a non-compliant site would cause a serious breach of data protection laws that was likely to cause substantial damage and distress to a user."   Read more on the BBC website...


If you're considering building a website with cookies enabled, make sure you adhere to the new regulations as this is going to be an area which they may well look to make some examples of companies with.





Chris Lunn, Managing Director
Digity, Marketing Consultancy

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