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Data is the lifeblood of the digital economy and represents one of the most valuable assets a company can develop today.
But according to leading security expert Bruce Schneier, "data is a toxic asset and saving it is dangerous."
Why? Saving data is dangerous because lots of people – including those with nefarious intentions – want it, it's hard to secure, and once it falls into the wrong hands, the damage can be significant.
One of the biggest concerns for online businesses this year has been the EU cookie law.
Six months after the enforcement 'deadline', it seems that the cookie apocalypse hasn't transpired, but the ICO has felt the need to write to 174 companies about their cookie policies.
According to a recent activity update, it has received 550 reports from web users about sites' cookie policies.
Here's a summary of the issue as the ICO currently sees it...
It seems that the vast majority of web users are not too concerned about viewing information about privacy and cookies, with just 1.47% clicking to find out more.
Stats from a sample of 35m users of 29 websites from TRUSTe show that a tiny minority are choosing to find out more about cookies, while the majority of those choose not to change settings.
This data suggests that, with the current implementation of the cookie law, online businesses have little to fear....
Thanks to an eleventh hour change of guidance from the ICO, as well as the fact that few sites have been crazy enough to implement strict cookie compliance, the internet appears to have survived the cookie law so far.
New stats from TRUSTe, based on a study of 231 of the most popular UK websites, show that just 63% have taken some steps towards cookie law compliance.
Most have opted for relatively unintrusive privacy messages with minimal controls, which is perhaps the most sensible approach.
Here are a few examples, and more stats from the report...
Marketing campaign management is more complex now than at any time, with many in-house and external professionals coming together to create, develop and deliver.
However, this combination of expertise is often missing the key ingredient of Purposeful Collaboration.
This was met with anger by some who saw this as a last minute changing of the goalposts, so I caught up with the ICO's Dave Evans to ask about this.
He also talks about how the Information Commissioner will judge the 'success' of its implementation of the EU e-Privacy directive and why sites should be open with users.
The cookie law deadline arrived on Saturday, and we haven't quite seen the pop-up apocalypse that some had predicted.
This may have had something to do with the ICO's last-minute revision of its guidance, but its more likely that many simply aren't prepared to risk harming their business models when it's unclear how the law will be enforced.
(I'm certainly not looking to 'out' websites here, so I'll be looking only at those which have taken some action).
With the deadline for compliance with the EU e-Privacy Directive just two days away, we've rounded up some of the key stats in an infographic.
This embeddable infographic looks at marketers' and consumers' views of the EU cookie law, and our five-step plan for compliance.
This is a topic we've covered in detail, so I've also rounded up some of our recent articles and other resources on the EU cookie law.
With just a few days left before the ICO begins to enforce the EU e-Privacy Directive, we are starting to see a few sites unveiling their approaches to compliance.
As well as taking a look at the two news sites' responses to the EU directive, I've been asking Malcolm Coles, Product Director, digital at Trinity Mirror Group, about the Mirror's approach.
The deadline for the e-Privacy Directive is fast approaching. While the subject has generated significant attention across Europe, the word 'cookie' continues to dominate the headlines.
In fact, the part of the Directive that applies to cookies is written more broadly and requires consent for non-essential tracking, regardless of whether a cookie is involved.
In this article, I'll review the facts behind the 'cookie law' and lift the lid on what consent really means for UK businesses.
The EU e-Privacy Directive and subsequent ICO guidance is complicated and confusing enough when you look at desktop sites alone, but then there's the question of how it translates to mobile.
To recap: the 'cookie law' covers the use by businesses of information stored on users' 'terminal equipment' and this covers mobile sites and apps as well as desktop sites.
In a new white paper, Mark Brill from the DMA has bravely attempted to untangle some of the issues around mobile and the cookie law.
I've looked at some of the recommendations from the report, and the threat that the e-Privacy Directive poses to mobile marketing and m-commerce...
The EU 'cookie law' is clearly a threat to online business in the UK, whether through higher bounce rates caused by intrusive cookie opt-ins, or loss of income if customers opt out of third party cookies used for remarketing and ad targeting.
Some have estimated that it will cost the UK economy £10bn in a worst case scenario, but this is just guesswork at the moment.
I asked some of the expert contributors to our EU Cookie Law: A guide to compliance report how the EU E-privacy directive will affect their business, and if it's possible to comply without affecting usability.