Archive for May, 2012
May 12 03
From 26 May, UK websites are required by law to comply with the EU “Cookie Law” which means that website owners must advise visitors that they are using cookies and must gain the consent of each visitor before serving them web cookies.
The new policy was actually passed on 26th May 2011 but it didn’t seem to launch due to lack of uptake from webmasters. The ICO agreed a one year’s grace period meaning the new cookie law will officially be enforced from May 26th 2012.
So action will now need to be taken but the problem is most people don’t really understand what cookies are, let alone how they can comply to the new law. Below is our guide to Cookies, how they are used and how to comply with the new Cookie law.
WHAT ARE COOKIES?
A cookie, also know as Web Cookie or Browser Cookie is a simple text file that gets downloaded onto your PC when you visit a website. They are not programs and they don’t actually do anything. They generally contain two bits of information: a site name and a unique user ID.
HOW DO COOKIES WORK?
WHAT IS THE NEW COOKIE LAW?
The “Cookie Law” comes the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive, which took place in November 2009. It aims to safeguard privacy online and protect web users from unwanted marketing. It basically breaks down into the three following rules:
- If you are using Cookies on your website you need to let every visitor know that when they come to your site.
- You need to let them know what type of Cookies you are using on your website.
DO I NEED TO COMPLY WITH THE NEW LAW?
HOW DO I MAKE MY SITE COMPLY TO THE NEW COOKIE LAW?
Basically your site must gain the consent of your visitors for placing cookies on their computers. It is not made clear exactly how you should do this, but there must be some form of communication involved whereby the visitor knowingly consents to cookies being used.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY SITE DOES NOT COMPLY?
The UK Regulations carry a maximum fine of £500,000 for serious breaches. The ICO will be concerned with the impact of the breach of the new cookie law on the privacy of website users. Initially companies will be sent information notices or enforcement notices with fines for further non compliance.
Further information can be found at About Cookies.