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.
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.