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How to comply with the new EU Cookie Law
Published by Tom Perkins on 26th June 2012
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With recent changes in EU law, in particular the so called ‘cookie law’, all website owners now have to ensure that their website complies with the ICO’s guidance. Read on to find out more and see the solution we’re recommending to our clients.
Hold on, what’s a cookie?

That’s a good place to start. A cookie is a very small text file that a website can place on your computer which, in simple terms, allows the website to remember stuff. They can be used to make a website remember that you’ve visited the site before and therefore do clever things like remember your preferences or your login information to save you typing it again.

When did the law come into effect?

The new ‘Cookie Law’ started with the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive being modified in 2009 to try to make things safer for website users. This was then imported into UK law, with guidance provided by the ICO, in May 2011 with website owners being given 12 months to comply. The deadline for compliance was 26th May 2012.

So what does the new law say?

In the UK guidance that was provided in May 2011, it stated that in order to comply all UK websites required EXPLICIT consent. That means that websites wouldn’t be allowed to place any cookies on a users computer unless they had explicitly given their permission to do so. Just hours before the new law came into effect, the ICO updated their advice to state that IMPLIED consent is now acceptable. This was definitely a sensible decision, as the web would simply grind to a halt if cookies were not allowed unless explicitly allowed.

So what’s the solution to comply with the new law?

The solution that we’re putting in place for our clients is made up of three parts. The first is that we’re carrying out a thorough cookie audit to understand all cookies that are being created by the website. The second step is that we’re then updating the websites ‘Privacy Policy’ to become a ‘Privacy & Cookie Policy’. This details all cookies used on the site, giving users the opportunity to understand the cookies that may be placed on their computer and giving guidance on how to control or stop these cookies being created if they choose. The final step is to create a message that is presented to all users, no matter which page the enter the site through, informing them that the website uses cookies, giving links to more information and giving them the ability to stop the message being presented every time the visit the site.

And the best bit…

Most solutions to the Cookie Law, including ours, use cookies to provide the solution! In our case, when a user clicks ‘Don’t show again’, a simple cookie is created and placed on that users computer to remember that they’ve asked not to see that message again.

How much does all this cost?

For our evolve clients, it’s costs absolutely nothing as all updates are provided free of charge. For our other clients, we’re offering this update for £199 (+VAT). If you’re not currently a Custom Studio client, don’t worry, simply give us a call on 01264 735 333 and we can talk you through how we can help you and your website comply.

So what do you think?

As always, we’d love to hear what you think using the comments section below. Do you think the new law is a good thing? Do you even care? Did you know what a cookie was before this legislation came into effect? Please let us know your thoughts below.

Tom Perkins

Tom is founder and Creative Director of Custom Studio and evolve. He’s passionate about design, business and giving customers an unbelievable service. When he’s not working, Tom enjoys cycling, squash, good food & wine and anything to do with cars.

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