EU Cookie Law

Posted by Paul on October 9, 2012

So what’s all this fuss about the Internet cookies? And what are they anyway?

Internet cookies have been around for a long time. They allow a website to store a little bit of information on your computer which can be very useful in a variety of ways. For example if you’ve ever wondered why you haven’t had to log in to a site like facebook, typing out your username and password every single time you access the site, the answer is cookies. So they can be great.

They can also be used to track your movements around a website, which actually I don’t think is so bad either seeing as that information is generally only used to improve the website. If the website owners identify that certain pages are popular, they might make them easier to get to. Unpopular pages might be removed.

Companies like Google want as much information about users as possible and their adverts do have a tendency to follow you around the internet because of cookies… but is this really so bad? All they’re trying to do is show you relevant ads that you might actually be interested in.

The ICO (who are in charge of implementing this new EU directive) would tend to agree with me:

"It's difficult to imagine a situation where we would issue a monetary penalty."

What do you need to do?
Originally when this law came in, you were required to ask every visitor for permission to use cookies with a little popup.

Luckily though, it was realised how ridiculous this actually was – almost every single website requiring users to click accept on an annoying popup and now “implied consent” is considered acceptable.

Essentially this means that it needs to be clear to your visitors that you will be using cookies by way of a link and some text about the purpose of your cookies. This is fairly standard any many websites (including this one) had this covered already.

A ridiculous law that won’t be enforced and can be complied with using just a link to your privacy policy.

[Update 24/06/2016]
Whatever your views on the UK's exit from the EU, the "Brexit", it can only be fantastic news for anyone who browses the Internet or who owns a website that they won't have to deal with annoying popups anymore!

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