The ICO's cookie law has been, for many companies, a major headache. After being given an extra year to find compliance solutions -- an acknowledgment that complying wouldn't necessarily be painless -- companies were finally forced to implement them.

Those that don't could find themselves facing steep fines, and in an effort to show that it's serious about enforcement, the ICO earlier this year indicated that it would be contacting 50 high-traffic UK websites about their compliance.

But for at least one company, software vendor Silktide, the threat of fines and legal action aren't enough. And it has a message for the ICO: "We're sick of you and this ridiculous cookie law."

To prove its point, the company, which is registered in England and Wales, claims it has taken away the solution it implemented to be compliant with the cookie law and is encouraging the ICO to take action. On its website,, the company writes:

Presumably we now fly in the face of the law you are sworn to uphold. Please, please do your worst. Send in a team of balaclava-clad ninjas in black hawk helicopters to tickle us to death with feather dusters. Just do something.

According to the company, the idea behind the cookie law "is a noble one" but it was unfortunately created by "technically illiterate octogenarians who couldn't find a button on a mouse." As Silktide sees it, companies like Google and Facebook are a much bigger threat to privacy, yet they haven't been nearly as inconvenienced by the ICO's cookie law. To boot, Silktide believes that consumers "don't give a flying monkey cluck" and Silktide's founder suggests that the invasive prompts seen on compliant websites actually "piss off users."

To get the ICO's attention, provides a link to file a complaint with the ICO. If enough people complain, it hopes the ICO will get in touch.

Fighting the good fight

Will the ICO respond to Silktide's taunts, and if so, how? Time will tell. If the ICO doesn't address the fact that a UK company is intentionally violating the cookie law, it will confirm what many already believed: that the law is a farce and enforcement will generally be toothless as a result. If it does indulge Silktide, its handling of the situation will obviously be on display for all to see.

Either way, Silktide believes it's fighting the good fight and lest anyone suggest that it's not contributing constructively to the privacy debate, has published a "modest proposal" of its own for helping users find the privacy policies of the sites they use.

Fixing what's beyond broken

It will be interesting to see the outcome of Silktide's challenge to the ICO, but whatever that is, one thing won't change: the fatally-flawed nature of the cookie law. Even if the ICO delivers a painful blow to Silktide to send a message that it's serious about enforcing the law, there is no evidence that the law is truly protecting consumers.

The ICO simply can't identify every violator of the law, nor can it punish companies outside of its jurisdiction. And when it comes to true privacy, enforcement of laws like these ignore the real threats, such as insecure storage and sharing of personal data, that will never be easily prevented or policed.

Patricio Robles

Published 6 September, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (5)


Lawrence Shaw

Its a bit of a silly way to try to create some headlines - yes there has been a lot of time and effort by a great deal of companies to achieve varying levels of compliance.

The majority of the superbrands are as interested in ensuring openness, not just fines (all be it, would they have addressed the issue so quickly without the stick is a question?)

It is fair to say that some have ignored or worse made random, unsupported claims on their sites - but most who have done something have done it to ensure they continue to be trusted and seen as transparent - some even using this a market demonstration of such facts!

Its not just about 'ICO' fines / commenting on their management of matters, they have a job to do to police a law (which could do with a little more thought and focus, yes).

Perhaps a working group that includes the ICO, DCMS, Service suppliers and key brands could consider what is a suitable direction / cost effective and timely would be far more helpful I feel.

Anyway, anyone interested - the detail of the cookies in use at the site available here;

almost 6 years ago



I would call it either a PR exercise or more simply link bait. Surprised that you have fallen quite so heavily for it.

almost 6 years ago


John Smith


almost 6 years ago


James Moffat

What is the big deal with implementing a cookie solution? Its a silly law but at the same time its so simple to comply with and so unobtrusive. There has been no measurable drop of in conversion, engagement in website stats as a result.

almost 6 years ago



I very much resent ANY internet entity planting spyware on my computer, tracking where I go and what I look at, as well as all of MY IP and personal information. This information is not safeguarded and stitched together by third party companies that in many cases 'are not subject' to the guarantees of Google and others that make them.


Contrary to the idiotic claim that we don't mind, WE VERY MUCH MIND. If companies could be trusted, there is good use for cookies, but THEY CANNOT be trusted and therefore the required acceptance of cookies and other spyware has to be stopped dead. period.

over 5 years ago

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