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I cannot remember a time when privacy was as relevant as it is right now.
Across the EU and US, privacy has morphed from an abstract legalese concept to a kitchen table issue.
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.
The EU e-Privacy Directive was introduced last year as a way of forcing websites to be more open about the type of cookies they used to track visitors.
Initially there was quite a lot of apprehension as site owners were concerned that they’d be forced to add intrusive pop-ups and force visitors to opt-in before they could begin using the site.
Only 12% of the top 50 British websites have taken steps to comply with the EU Cookie Directive with an onscreen pop-up, banner or tab informing users about cookies on the site, according to a new report from TRUSTe.
But while this number seems low, the study found that none of the top sites in France or Germany has taken any steps towards compliance.
TRUSTe’s findings reflect the fact that the Information Commissioner’s Office has said it will adopt a soft approach towards enforcing the cookie law, which came into force earlier this year.
When the EU e-Privacy Directive was first announced, it was thought that the internet would collapse as we were hit with a wall of pop-ups asking for cookie consent.
We were told that users would opt-out of cookies in droves, making it impossible for websites to measure traffic, target users with offers or advertising.
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.
Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled to the world its Windows 8 Release Preview. The release will be the last before Microsoft ships Windows 8 later this year.
The Release Preview contained plenty for industry observers and the curious to digest. There are performance improvements, more apps, better support for multiple monitors and so on and so forth.
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 only two days to go until the EU E-privacy Directive comes into affect, a new survey has found that only 24% of online consumers are aware of the new law.
This is despite the fact that 84% of respondents in the TRUSTe survey said they are aware of cookies.
A similar survey we ran in April with Toluna Quick found that 69% of online consumers are aware of cookies and what they do.
The findings of these two surveys prove that people generally know what cookies are, yet in our survey only 23% said they would be happy to say yes to cookies.
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 Information Commissioner’s Office will write to 50 top UK websites this week to find out what actions have been taken towards compliance with the new EU e-Privacy Directive.
During a press briefing last week the deputy commissioner and director of data protection David Smith declined to reveal which businesses were included on the list, but confirmed that site traffic was one of the criteria.
The websites in question will have 28 days to respond to the ICO’s letter.
While this may cause an administrative headache for the businesses involved, it will come as good news to many that the ICO does not plan to levy fines for breaches of the EU cookie law.