It’s Curb a Cookie day: But are we ready?

May 26, 2012

May 26th 2012 is the day when the UK faces strict rules regarding the use of electronic tracking codes (“cookies”). But it seems unlikely that we are ready

Today is when the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) imposes an EU directive which says that sites must provide “clear and comprehensive” information about the use of cookies small files which allow a site to recognise a visitor’s device.

Comply or else…

The directive requires website managers to reveal that the cookies are there, explain what they are doing, and obtain visitors’ consent to store a cookie on their devices. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to £500,000.

The BBC doubts that the directive will be successfully applied.

Thousands of UK websites are expected to be in breach of a law that dictates what they can log about visitors.
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.

To be continued

The Guardian outlines the guidelines on ‘implied consent’ which were provided Thursday [24th May 2012].