How the new EU Website Cookie Law affects you

The new EU cookie law came into effect at the end of May 2012 with the aim of improving data privacy by giving web users more control over what data can be held about them and how that data is used.

EU cookie law

What are Website Cookies?

Most websites use some type of cookies.

Cookies are small text files that websites save onto your computer to recognise a user. The cookie files don’t contain any information that can be used to identify you personally

Cookies allow the website to deliver a better experience to the user. They help analyse traffic and visits, personalise content and remember you next time you visit.

What does this mean for website owners?

In essence, the new law says that you need permission to place this type of code onto a user’s computer and that they must be aware of how the data is being used.

The law does allow an exception for ‘strictly necessary’ cookies, such as those used to remember when something has been added to a shopping basket.

Complying with the new legislation

Firstly check with your web developer to find out what type of cookies are being used on your website.

For websites using non-essential cookies, practical changes need to be made to websites to implement a suitable form of implied consent from users.

These steps should ensure your website complies with the new legislation whilst maintaining a good user experience and not hindering the websites generation of business.

The new law gives the Information Commissioners Office the power to fine companies up to £500,000 for serious breaches of these privacy regulations. Although it is more likely that they would initially use formal warnings to encourage websites to comply.