Understanding the New UK “Cookie Law” – Guest Post By Laura Clarke

On the 26th May this year UK cookie laws were introduced, but this is nothing new, they were actually incorporated into UK law a year ago. This happened after EU privacy legislation ruled that sites should be more transparent in the way they use cookies but webmasters were given a one year grace period to ensure that their websites met with the new regulations.

So what does this new cookie law mean?

Put briefly and to the point the new cookie law requires websites to ask for user consent to store personal information on their computer, phone, tablet etc. thus making users more aware of how much data is collected about them.

But aren’t some cookies necessary?

Some cookies are exempt from this new law as they are vital for the smooth running of sites. These include shopping baskets on retail sites so that the site can remember all the items a shopper is requesting. These types of cookies are “first party” and are seen as the good guys of the cookie world.

The ones that are in need of consent to be used are the “third party” cookies, these are ones that send your information to remarketing firms to display similar items to the ones you have been looking at on other sites. This means you are constantly reminded of the brand and are more likely to go back to the site to purchase the product or use their service.

What will I need to do to make sure my site is now lawful?

There are two options for what you can do to ensure your site complies with this new legislation, you can offer an explicit opt in/out notice on your site or incorporate an implied consent into your privacy policy.

The better of the two options is of course the user opt in/out route as this will ensure better transparency in the working of the site, if your site uses marketing cookies you should definitely enforce this option with clear “this site uses cookies- allow/disallow” options. If these cookies are used for analytics purposes you may find the frequency of visitors on your site dropping due to them opting out of these cookies.

If your website does not use marketing tools and your cookies are for functional reasons such as Facebook likes, twitter posts and analytics you may be able to get away with an updated privacy policy explaining what the cookies are used for, but this is a murky area so you may need to ask for legal advice before just assuming this is the case.

What happens if I don’t comply?

If you don’t comply the fines can be pretty hefty, the UK regulations have ruled that it could be up to  £500,000 if the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) deem the website to be in serious breach of user’s privacy.

So make sure you don’t get caught out and ensure your site is lawful before the ICO start cracking down on cookie law breaches.

This post was written by Laura Clarke who is currently working on behalf of Manchester Solicitors Pannone.




Filed under Cookies, Guest Posts, Privacy

3 responses to “Understanding the New UK “Cookie Law” – Guest Post By Laura Clarke

  1. Gopaul

    How does this effect rangers?

  2. Richboy

    This is way above my understanding. Why do Internet companies use terms like “cookies” when they actually mean your computer settngs. Why do they not use simple terms that those of us who survived the sixties can understand. Cookies were things that got you stoned or fed your insatiable appetite after you had over indulged.

    Why are they called COOKIES? What sort of important information can they record (do they know I had porridge for breakfast?)

    Simple example of helping PC users ” If you want to use this site we will arrange your computer settings to suit. When you leave this site everything will return to normal”. Why can’t they keep it simple?

    Even if I was stoned I would click OK.

    Companies are indulging in “bullying” of the older generation by using terms and language that intimidates and excludes those of us who do not subscride to the destruction and destabilisation of the English language.

    Youngsters beware, the Grey Revolution is imminent. Just imagine how bad things will be when your Gran and Grandad are no longer paying for your Internet Access and Mobile Phones. HAHAHAHAaaaaargh

    • Gopaul

      Called cookies, cos browsers left a trail of cookie crumbs, which meant websites could remember user preferences and provided a better experience

      Those of us who build and designed tinternet, we’re sandal geeks for who coffe, Grep,awk,….was way of life

      We never expected the masses to use it 🙂

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