Although businesses have an extra year to chew on it, barring a miracle, they’ll eventually have to figure out what the updates to Regulation 6 of the UK’s Privacy and Electronic
Communications Regulations 2003 mean and how to make sure they’re adhered to.
Those updates, of course, require that users provide “consent” for the placement of a cookie on their machines.
One of the big question marks is how the new regulations are applied to third party cookies, like those used by analytics services, including Google Analytics.
What we do know: anyone who chooses to ask permission to place an analytics-related cookie may have to kiss their analytics data goodbye.
That’s because a Freedom of Information request has revealed that the ICO itself saw a massive drop in traffic tracked by Google Analytics following its decision to ask permission to place the almost-ubiquitous Google Analytics cookie.
As Chinwag humorously notes, “Perhaps this is a portent of doom for anyone that relies on multiple cookies for tracking, customer service, analytics, advertising. Oh, wait, that’s everyone?”
Needless to say, the ICO’s newfound inability to track traffic to its own website thanks to the regulations it has to promulgate will only fuel further debate about the new cookie regulations.
But the situation may be even worse outside of the U.K. Yesterday, in what may prove to be one of the most mind-boggling decisions in internet legal history, the Dutch parliament passed an even more stringent cookie law.
Not only does it require that users opt in to the placement of a cookie, it also requires that a website operator be able to prove that the cookie was accepted. Hand, meet forehead.
The Netherlands is a huge market, and Stephan Noller, CEO of an ad consultancy told the Wall Street Journal, ”50% of campaigns in euro volumes might be shut down.” Even worse, because the Journal notes that the EU is “committed to harmonizing rules,” the Dutch application of the directive could eventually be forced upon other nations.
Of course, despite their best attempts, bureaucrats in the EU won’t be able to break the internet. All of this cookie craziness, if not stopped dead in its tracks, will inevitably lead companies to relocate to friendlier locations where those in power still understand that cookies, in moderation, aren’t bad for your health.