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Tuesday 22nd May 2012
From May 25th the UK's cookie law will be enforced
On May 25th of 2011, an EU Directive came into force which is popularly known as "the EU cookie law". In short, the Directive requires companies based in the EU and companies with customers inside the EU to obtain direct permission from their customers before using any form of non-essential cookies or tracking technology.
The UK's cookie law began being enforced from May 25th 2012 and is intended to help protect people’s privacy.
What is the cookie law about?
The cookie law requires that we are given the chance to opt in to being tracked individually whether by a browser cookie, Flash cookie, web beacon or other technical method.
Here's an informative video from Caroline Roberts from the Direct Marketing Association:
How does this affect my site?
The new law means that websites must request the user’s permission before using cookies which are not considered necessary for a website to function. Although there are no official guidelines on which types of cookies are ‘necessary’, we believe this includes cookies such as those used within ecommerce websites to store information on what’s in your cart. The new law is an update to the 2003 Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 that you can find at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2003/2426/contents/made.
Although cookies can be an annoyance, they’re also a vital part of the Internet, aiding functionality that is often integral to how a website works. Perceived breaches of privacy are what the new cookie law is trying to address.
What are the consequences?
This new law will mean websites using cookies that are not considered vital to the website running, without first gaining the user’s prior consent, could face a fine of up to £500,000.
What we can do to help
To help you conform to the new legislation, we are able to run a website audit process and assess the intrusiveness of your cookies based on what they do/may be used for, who has access to the data and where they are being served from.
As part of the audit, we will also produce a full report about your site, and how you can become compliant (if applicable) and the different options available to you.
Depending on the size of your website this cost would normally be between £50 and £200.
For any websites we are currently in the process of building, we will obviously ensure that they are compliant.
If you’d like to read more, this topic has been covered in detail over at Econsultancy: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/9879-eu-e-privacy-directive-don-t-call-it-a-cookie-law
There’s also information and guidance available from the ICO site: http://www.ico.gov.uk/ and a great PDF available at the ICC: http://www.international-chamber.co.uk/components/com_wordpress/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/icc_uk_cookie_guide.pdf.
If you’d like help and advice from us on cookies and the implications of these changes, please get in touch.