EU Privacy Directive (The cookie law)
So what's all this about?
On May 26th 2011 a new EU directive came into effect that requires website owners to make changes to their sites with regard to how cookies are used to store visitor information. It becomes UK Law on May 26th 2012. It applies all to all websites using cookies and not just commercial ones.
This law called The EU Privacy Law is amended privacy legislation that requires websites to ensure their visitors are fully informed as to which cookies are stored and why they are used on a computer or any other web connected device.
The law is being regulated and overseen in the UK by The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and you can read their statement here. They have the power to prosecute non compliant firms and seek fines of up to £500,000
What is a cookie exactly?
Cookies are small text files placed on your computer by a web browser. They are used by almost all websites, for a variety of purposes:
- Analysis of visitor behaviour (known as 'analytics')
- To personalise pages and remember visitor preferences.
- To manage shopping carts in online stores
- To track people across websites and deliver targeted advertising
How does this affect my site and how do I achieve compliance?
The ICO have classified four types of cookies.
Required for your website to function, for example to mark someone as being logged in or to manage their browsing session or to add products to a cart
Non-Essential but harmless
Not essential to core functionality but not used for tracking a user. Examples of this would be cookies that store user preferences such as font-size on a page.
Used to track people but do not provide personally identifiable information, for example Google's Analytics
Used to track people and provide personally identifiable information for advertising and data collection purposes.
Sites produced by us use primarily a mixture of the first three types.
Should I really worry about this?
It's hard to say at the moment what stance the ICO will take in terms of prosecuting sites that don't comply with the new law.
We feel their primary attention will be focused on the sites using type four cookies 'very intrusive' without explaining their purpose to the user. However, it can't be ruled out and therefore we do recommend that site owners look to achieve compliance where possible.
We feel that this should meet the requirements of the ICO and the new law based on the information we have been given so far.
For our existing web design clients, the solution above, can be installed for £45. This includes the code to produce the banner and a tailored privacy page detailing the cookies on your site along with your general privacy information.
If you are not currently a client of ours, we would be happy to conduct a cookie audit of your site and provide a quote.Please contact us for further information.