The law is not new, but it has been subject to a ‘grace period’, meaning it has not been enforced so far. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) began enforcing it in the UK after May 26 2012 and international customers will be hearing more and more about it over the next few months.
As this is a legal issue, we’d like to be very clear that this article is for information purposes only. It’s not intended to be legal advice and doesn’t take into account your personal circumstances. When considering how the Cookie Law will apply to you, you should obtain independent legal advice.
What is the cookie law?
‘The Cookie Law’ is a result of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations which the UK implemented in response to an EU Directive. The directive was amended in 2009 and now includes “a requirement to obtain consent for cookies and similar technologies.”
‘Cookies’ are the small files stored on your computer, which allow websites to ‘remember’ information about returning visitors. Almost all websites use these for activities as simple as remembering whether you’ve visited before, through to storing preferences that you’ve set in the past and targeting adverts depending on these preferences. The UK implemented this into law on 25 May 2011 but allowed UK businesses a year-long grace period to make any changes needed.
What are a website owner’s obligations?
The main obligation, described by the Information Commissioner’s Office is:
“UK businesses and organisations running websites in the UK need to get consent from visitors to their websites in order to store cookies on users’ computers”
There are some exceptions to this, for example it does not apply to cookies that are “strictly necessary for a service requested by a user”. It’s a fairly woolly definition, but the ICO expands on this by saying:
“Cookies used for online shopping baskets and ones that help keep user data safe are likely to be exempt from complying with the rules.”
What can I do about it?
We can do this for just £40 per site. You can let us know by contacting us at email@example.com.