Cookie law set to come into force
Published: 26th May 2012 01:22:00
Thousands of UK websites are expected to be in breach of a law that dictates what they can log about visitors.
European laws that define what details sites can record in text files called cookies come into force on 26 May.
Cookies are widely used to customise what repeat visitors see on a site and by advertisers to track users online.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it would offer help to non-compliant sites rather than take legal action against them.
The regulations say websites must get "informed consent" from users before they record any detailed information in the cookies they store on visitors' computers.
Among websites that have complied with the law, getting consent has involved a pop-up box that explains the changes. Users are then asked to click to consent to having information recorded and told what will happen if they refuse.
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.
On busy sites, he said, an audit of current cookie practices could take time because of the sheer number of cookie files they regularly issue, monitor and update.
Mr Evans said the ICO was expecting sites that were not compliant to be able to demonstrate what work they had done in the last year to get ready.
Fines for non-compliance were unlikely to be levied, he said, because there was little risk that a non-compliant site would cause a serious breach of data protection laws that was likely to cause substantial damage and distress to a user.
It was planning to use formal undertakings or enforcement notices to make sites take action, he said.
"Those are setting out the steps we think they need to take in order to become compliant and when we expect them to be taking those steps," he said. "If they comply with one of those notices or sign one of those undertakings they are committing to doing this properly and that's the main point."
As well as advising firms, the ICO has also issued guidance to the public that explains what cookies are, how to change cookie settings and how to complain if they are worried about a site's policy.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Cookie law set to come into force. [Online] (Updated 26 May 2012)
Available at: http://www.manchesterwired.co.uk/news.php/1431038-Cookie-law-set-to-come-into-force [Accessed 19th June 2013]
At 20:47:00 in OtherPolice investigating how a 12-year-old girl got a serious head injury in a Bolton park have concluded it happened by accident. ...
At 20:02:36 in OtherA man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman was found dead at a house in Greater Manchester....
At 19:00:51 in OtherA 13-year-old girl was raped on her way to school in Greater Manchester....
At 18:39:05 in OtherA woman was raped by a number of men during a house party in a "disgusting" attack, police have said....
At 13:44:40 in OtherIan Brady is banned from carrying pens in case he uses them as a weapon after a confrontation at his secure mental hospital, a tribunal has ...
At 10:50:26 in OtherMuseums in three northern cities which faced uncertain futures are "safe" from closure, the culture minister has said....
At 03:49:06 in OtherDemand for the HS2 high-speed rail project has "likely been overestimated", a think tank has said....
At 00:11:45 in BusinessBruce Dickinson arrived for his BBC interview wet, hot, but in remarkably good spirits....
At 23:10:41 in OtherA youth of 17 has been charged with the murder of a man who was found with head injuries in a Bolton street....
At 21:01:55 in OtherBradford's National Media Museum will not close, MPs say they have been told....
News In Other Categories
Confusion over an A-level maths paper set by exam board Edexcel is completely unacceptable, says education select committee chairman, Graham...
The UK's recent run of damp summers could be down to a cyclical warming of the Atlantic Ocean....
Chrysler has agreed to recall 2.7 million Jeeps that could be at risk of fuel tank fires, after initially refusing a government request to d...
Four US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, hours after the US announced direct talks with the Taliban, reports say....
Two French football stars, Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, are to go on trial in Paris on charges of paying for sex with an underage prosti...
A UK-wide Family Arts Festival has been launched aiming to increase family participation in the arts. ...