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It's now more than two years since the cookie law began to be 'enforced' in the UK, but has it changed anything?
In the run up to the May 2012 'deadline' there was plenty of confusion from online businesses over the steps required to comply with the directive, thanks to some unclear instructions.
Now cookie notices are seen on most websites, though the ICO received just 38 'concerns' about cookies on sites between April and June 2014.
So was it worth the effort? Are cookie notices just an irritant? Is it totally irrelevant given the activities of the NSA? Or has this law been useful in raising awareness of cookies?
This week's infographic, brought to you by silktide, is a great example of how to make a good infographic. It's clear and piquant.
Perhaps a controversial choice, though. The topic is the EU Cookie Law, and there's certainly a leading opinion in here somewhere (maybe even a hint of invective - we don't quite condone the jibe at octogenarians).
I think most would agree that, though there may be the germ of a decent idea somewhere in this legislation, its execution has left much to be desired.
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...
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.
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 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.
89% of UK consumers think that the EU cookie law is a positive step, though 75% had not heard of the e-Privacy Directive before they were surveyed.
Funnily enough, a similar proportion of marketers (82%) in a recent Econsultancy/Toluna survey think the opposite and view the cookie law as a real threat to the web.
The stats come from a survey of 2,000 consumers carried out by eDigitalResearch and IMRG last month.
According to the IMRG's Andy Mulcahy, the directive provides "an opportunity for retailers to increase trust and loyalty through a clear, unobtrusive and customer-friendly cookie notification process".
I'm not so sure about that...
With the EU e-Privacy Directive's compliance 'deadline' just a month away, many businesses are wondering not only what they should do about it, but also how the law will be enforced by the ICO.
While working on our EU cookie law guide, I spoke to Dave Evans, Group Manager for Business & Industry at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
I asked how actively the law would be enforced, the likely penalties for non-compliance, and whether implied consent solutions would be acceptable.
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?
Think your phone number is safe when browsing the web via your mobile? It seems like a logical assumption to make.
But that might not be quite true if you're an O2 customer.
I’ve been on record a number of times saying that I think the EC Directives relating to cookies are fundamentally flawed. We could make a parallel with the current UK/EU Euro ‘situation’ but let’s not go there. In the UK the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a duty to enforce these directives and, as they say, “This isn’t going away. It’s the law.”
Yesterday the ICO released its updated guidance for UK website owners. You can download the PDF from the link in the news release.
Given the tough task of interpretation, guidance and enforcement that is the ICO’s duty, I have to say that I think this document is a valiant and comprehensive effort given the task and I’d commend them for this. I would urge you to read it for the full details. It is clearly written and quite practical.
Below are some of my initial thoughts on reading this latest guidance.