In May 2011, new legislation relating to the use of website ‘cookies’ was introduced as part of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.
Website owners were given until 26 May 2012 to comply.
Why ‘cookie law’ exists and what it requires
Introduced as a privacy protection measure, ‘cookie law’ (Regulation 6) is designed to stop user data (personal or anonymous) being recorded against the wishes of the user concerned. It therefore requires that all EU websites obtain their visitors’ explicit consent before using cookies.
Note that, as this is an EC directive, only those with operations in the EU are required to comply.
What are cookies anyway?
Cookies are small pieces of information stored on a visitor’s computer to track usage or to facilitate other website functions – e.g.: saving items in a shortlist.
If you operate an online shop or use a visitor tracking service (such as Google Analytics) then you’re using cookies.
You must act now
It is essential that you take at least some form of action towards achieving compliance with the new legislation before 26 May as a failure to do so could result in legal action being taken.
In many cases, if you act now, compliance could be achieved well ahead of the deadline. However, for some larger and more complex sites, the whole process may take considerably longer and in such cases it may not be possible for you to be fully compliant in time.
If you cannot comply fully with the legislation before 26 May, you must instead:
- Be able to provide an acceptable explanation for non-compliance
- Have identified any particularly instrusive cookies in operation on your site
- Have ensured that any privacy implications associated with the use of especially instrusive cookies (if applicable) have been assessed and addressed appropriately
- Be able to demonstrate that every effort is being made to comply fully
- Have a timeline for complete compliance in place
Be warned! Those who ignore the law and take no action at all lay themselves open to the possibility of prosecution.
How we can help
OXLink is pleased to be able to offer the full package of ‘cookie law’ compliance services – from free initial assessments to custom solution implementations.
Call 01865 361696 for more information.