Friday 27 April 2012

The new cookie law – it will affect you...

What is it?

If you haven’t already heard of the EU cookie law and you have a website, then you really should read this article... in essence it’s a new European law that requires websites to tell people what cookies they use and their purpose when they visit. Sounds like a lot of hassle right? Well I’m afraid it probably is...

How does it affect me?!

The law has actually been in place since May 26th 2011, but most companies haven’t done anything yet as the powers that be have given a 12 months amnesty period in which to comply... but that amnesty period is due to end on May 25th 2012.

In the UK the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is responsible for enforcement of the cookie law... so those guys could well be chasing you if you don’t put something in place that gives web users more info about the cookies that will be stored in their browsers when they visit your website, and the ability to opt out/ in.

What will visitors to my website notice?

It all depends how the people that manage your website, go about informing visitors of the types of cookie and their purpose. Using a dialogue box, will disrupt users from browsing your website as they won’t be able to do anything until they have closed the box. A discreet status bar at the top/ bottom of a web page is likely to be more user-friendly.

So can I just ignore it?

You could, but there is no indication of just how strictly the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is going to be on enforcement... you could be letting yourself in for a world of pain, especially if your company’s website handles high volumes of traffic. The safest approach is to comply or you could be faced with a fine of up to £500,000.

Will my website analytics data still be accurate?

At present it is not yet clear, as the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) argue that you still need consent. This could bring into question that accuracy of Google Analytics as a tool to measure and analyse visitor trends to your website. But having said that, a solution could be found whereby web browsers are engineered to include a universal consent or opt out button.

To find out more and to discuss updating your website, please get in touch.


Tel: 01841 540 874.

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