After the fiasco that was the EU 'cookie law', the words 'EU directive' are sure to strike fear in the UK's marketers and ecommerce professionals.
Now, there's another EU directive on the way, which has implications for UK retail. It's the Directive on Consumer Rights and aims to improve consumer protection when shopping online.
To be fair, there are some good points in the directive, but also some that may concern retailers if this comes to pass, depending on the final implementation.
With the DMA announcing their new one million dollar PR campaign “Data-Driven Marketing Institute,” the question of privacy and rules around customer data has become a greater focus of some of the panels this morning. Jordon Cohen of Moveable Ink, brought up the headline "Target knows a teenage girl is pregnant before her own father does" and posed the question: have we finally gone too far?
For those of you who didn't read this headline in February, an irate father charged into a Target store demanding they stop targeting his teenage daughter with emails full of baby products because she wasn't pregnant. It turns out Target was right, and the father was wrong. She was pregnant and her shift in product purchase at Target made the marketers behind the brand know of her news before any of the world may have known.
Jason Scoggins of Freshpair stressed that targeting has to go through a "creep" filter and in the case of the Target example, they went too far.
For large organizations like the BBC, ignoring the recently-enacted EU cookie law probably isn't a viable option. Despite the headaches associated with implementing a solution, the threat of legal actions and fines probably outweighs the costs of compliance.
It's a different story for entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses, some of whom indicated a willingness to flout the law until given a reason to reconsider.
If ibuprofen sales are up in the EU this year, it might have something to do with the nightmare known as the EU cookie law.
For major companies operating in affected countries, the solution to the problem has been, well, to find a solution to the problem. And for good reason: with the possibility of enforcement action, few businesses can afford not to address the law.
But apparently the EU itself can't be bothered with complying with its own rules.
The ICO's one year amnesty on enforcement of the EU e-Privacy Directive ends tomorrow, and a few more sites have been rolling out their compliance solutions.
BBC.co.uk launched its cookie info banner yesterday, while Channel 4, The Guardian and the Telegraph have today.
The four approaches are all very different...
There has been a huge amount of interest within the Econsultancy community around the EU e-Privacy Directive, sometimes rather misleadingly referred to as the ‘EU Cookie Law’ (as it doesn’t just apply to cookies). This is not surprising as the deadline for compliance with the directive in the UK is May 26th so less than two months away.
People have been asking "So what is Econsultancy going to do on its site?", and "What do you think is best practice?", and "Will Econsultancy.com be compliant?". Today we have set live our ‘solution’.
(UPDATE, 18 April 2012: Our new report, The EU Cookie Law: A Guide to Compliance, explains the legislation as far as it affects UK online businesses, sets out some practical steps that you can take towards compliance, and includes examples of how websites can gain users’ consent for setting cookies. Do check it out.)
With just over a month until the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 is enforced, it was high time that an organisation with the weight to set a precedent got off the fence and took a serious position on the matter.
Who better than the UK's Government Digital Service?
I’m not sure I expected the UK government to be the one to lead the charge on cookie law compliance, and I’m certain I didn’t expect them to be the ones to argue that web analytics are “essential”, but that’s exactly what they’ve done with their snappily titled Implementer Guide to Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (PECRs) for public sector websites.
So does it stand up to scrutiny? And more pressingly, does it get the rest of us out of a potentially difficult situation?
Meriel Lenfestey is Director at Foolproof, and is currently working with financial clients on compliance with the EU cookie laws.
The EU cookie laws, and the potential effect they can have on online businesses, represents a major challenge. So how can they comply without harming the user experience and damaging their revenues?
I've been asking Meriel about what websites should be doing to prepare for the implementation of the cookie law, and how this will affect the user experience.
Antitrust regulators in Europe have Google in their sights. In November 2010, the European Commission opened an informal investigation into the search giant to determine if it is abusing its position in the market.
The investigation covers everything from the company's treatment of competitors' search results to its new social network Google+. Normally, antitrust investigations like this take years to complete, but
it appears that the EU may be moving much more quickly than normal.
In response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on electronic payments, published today, Mastercard is the first major payment company to officially lend support to the campaign.
The goal of the paper is to expand electronic payments to help European businesses grow, and consumers to shop easily and safely online, instore and via their mobile devices.