The Cookie’s Crumbled; EU Cookie Law Changes
An eleventh hour change to the new EU cookie law by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), means UK website operators can now rely on implied consent when it comes to storing cookies on visitors’ computers.
Before the last minute change on Thursday, websites not only had to make it clear when they were saving a cookie on a user's computer but also gain explicit consent.
What do the cookie law changes mean?
Although the change is great news to a lot of web masters and marketers, it also means that the UK is no longer in line with the EU, which has followed the explicit consent route. Despite this, the ICO has suggested that explicit consent is applied when cookies are used to collect more sensitive personal data.
Damien Majer, Optima Design Senior Web Developer, said: “This is a striking change of direction from the ICO who previously said implied consent wasn’t a valid form of consent but great news for a lot of business who rely of tracking and analytics for marketing.”
What is a cookie?
A cookie, also known as a HTTP cookie, web cookie or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website […]. Cookies were designed to be reliable mechanisms for websites to remember things that a browser had done there in the past which can include having clicked particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that sites months or years ago. They are generally used to save you time filling in forma and re-entering data and are stored on YOUR computer. Source: “HTTP cookie” Wikipedia
Cookies can be categorised into three main types:
Performance cookies collect anonymous data from visitors. This data cannot track individual users but is useful in cataloguing how a user interacts with a website and is used to improve the functionality of a website and how it works.
Functionality cookies allow users to customise the aesthetics of a website. These cookies remember usernames and user preferences such as location and languages to help websites provide targeted information like local weather and traffic reports.
- Advertising and targeting cookies. These controversial cookies help companies target advertisements that are relevant to users based on information and habits they gather.
In May 2011 the 2003 EU e-privacy law was amended, requiring websites to gain visitor consent for the use of tracking technologies, the most common of which are cookies. The guidance issued on the updated rules encourages businesses to be transparent about cookies and how they might be used. In the UK, the ICO issued website operators a year-long grace period to implement the changes, which was later changed and relaxed just 48 hours before the deadline of 26th May 2012.
What to do to make sure you comply
If you’re unsure whether your website complies with the new EU cookie law or would like to make the necessary changes please contact our web design team on 01522 522773 or fill out our contact form.