New Cookie Law for the UK

April 8th, 2012
Business News

On May 26th, 2011, all UK websites were subject to a new cookie law which was introduced to prevent website owners from using cookies on their websites without the permission of their customers.

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Already aware of the new law and prepared? Why not leave a comment at the bottom of the page tellings us what pre-cautions your company has made? Just scroll to the bottom!

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Now luckily this was an EU Directive originally (from 2007) and when push came to shove in 2011 only two EU Member States were actually able to enforce it, the UK NOT being one of them.

As a result the UK pushed it’s deadline back to May 26th 2012. Having failed to meet the 2011 deadline.

How does it affect my Business?

In short it means that there’s a good chance you need to update your website and you should therefore be speaking to your web design company.

What Does this Whole Cookie Thing Mean and are you sure it applies to me?

A cookie is a small file that is stored on your customers computer and is used, for example, to track the way that they browse your website or alternatively to store items that are in their “basket” (for an eCommerce website).

Now for years websites have been using cookies to benefit the end-users’ experience. So almost all websites have used them, however now you can’t use them unless if:

1) It’s ‘strictly necessary’ . In which case you don’t need prior permission.

2) The end user has agreed for your website to use cookies by clicking a button.

So if your website has a shopping cart, or you use programs like Google Analytics, then the new cookie laws are definitely going to affect your business and website and you really do need to speak to your web design people.

Who’s Regulating these new Laws? And is there any other solutions possible?

It’s regulated by the Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO) who, themselves, have set up a cookie warning on their website. So why not click here to see how the people who regulate it do it!

Christopher Graham himself, an Information Commissioner, said that the new rules on cookies was “challenging” but he reminded people that the new laws are to give more power back to the user allowing them the right to decide how much data companies can collect on them.

As for possible solutions, it doesn’t look like you have much of a choice accept for a notice on your website and to have cookies disabled as default from the end of May 2012. Then, when people see the notice on your website you can try and get them to “Accept Cookies”. Sounds extreme, but the new rules are!

The UK Government has also met with the browser manufacturers to try and come up with some common settings on browsers to deal with the new laws themselves. Such as a setting in the browser to stop cookies from being used.

This hasn’t created a solution to date however the latest versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer have the feature, Google is still behind and yet to release a solution on their platform.

In my opinion BT Internet has implemented the new system the best, to their website, so if you want to see an example of a website that has become compliant then visit their website by clicking here.

UPDATE: Why not leave us a comment saying how your business is dealing with these new laws? Just fill in the form below. Thanks in advance.

About the Author

Charlie Street

An entrepreneur at heart, Charlie is the original founder of Media Street and based at the core of everything it does.

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