With the deadline for the European Union's Privacy and Communications Directive looming, how can you ensure your website is compliant with the new law that comes into effect on 26th May?
So, what is a cookie...?
Cookies are small text files stored on your computer to make your web experience more personalised. Some website features may not work if you don't allow cookies to be stored on your computer. Cookies work in different ways - some, called 'session cookies' are deleted as soon as you close your browser, others stay on your computer to remember you next time you visit the site. Some cookies to allow you to track how people are using your site but do not give specific information about visitors (such as Google Analytics), so you can spot trends and improve the experience of using your site. Some third party cookies, such as those used by social media, may collect data to deliver content or advertising relevant to your interests when you visit other sites in future.
Ever noticed how, when you've been searching for a particular subject, ads on sites such as Facebook suddenly seem more relevant to your interests the next time you go to that site? It's that sharing of information without permission that the law is really intended to counter - but it's going to affect all website owners. The big question is will, and how, will it be policed?
An added burden for businesses...
Full compliance with the law means that you should:
• Undertake an audit of cookies used on your sites
• Let visitors know what those cookies do
• Display an opt-in message before visitors enter the site giving them the option to allow or disable cookies. You must get consent before using any cookies.
This, of course, has a cost - not only in time and money to undertake the audit and implement the changes, but also in putting up another barrier before a visitor gets to the information on your website. Few websites appear to have made significant efforts towards compliance and even the 'big players' are not yet fully compliant. Many websites appear to be taking a 'wait and see' approach.
What we recommend you do now...
The Information Commissioner's Office has indicated that the most important thing is to 'take steps towards compliance'. Therefore, we suggest website owners at least:
• Put a written plan in place to state your intention to comply and the process you will undertake to comply.
• Inform visitors how they can disable cookies in their browser (although this may affect the operation of many sites).
In our opinion (although this isn't to be taken in any way as legal advice!), this would be a first step to demonstrating a move towards compliance. You can then implement your plan accordingly as the industry comes to grips with the directive after 26th May.
To contact Hunter Bevan, call 01691 682566 or visit their website
Member since: 10th July 2012
A quick introduction - I'm John Waine, Director of TheBestOfOswestry. Having lived in this beautiful area for around 20 years now, I have decided to stay. :)
With kind thanks