Websites given 12 months to abide cookie law <br>

Organisations and business that run websites aimed at UK consumers have been given up to 12 months to take action before enforcement of the new EU-conceived rules on cookies begins.

The Information Commissioner’s Office, tasked with enforcing the stricter requirements for website owners, said the Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations do not contain a transitional period.

But as the necessary technological changes to browsers to allow users more control over cookies “aren’t there yet,” the requirement that their “explicit consent” is given for the files to be used will not be enforced straight away.

“So we’re giving businesses and organisations up to one year to get their house in order, “the ICO explained, releasing fresh guidance for website owners and consumers alike.

“This does not let everyone off the hook. Those who choose to do nothing will have their lack of action taken into account when we begin formal enforcement of the rules.”

On its own website, the office has placed a header bar to give visitors information about its privacy policy; the cookies it uses, and steps on how to manage them.

Yet Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, believes other websites shouldn’t necessarily do the same, despite the likelihood that his will be seen as “a model of how to comply.”

“Every website is different and prescriptive universal ‘to do’ lists would only hinder rather than help businesses to find a solution that works best for them and their customers,” he said.

Retailers were among the initial supporters of the ICO’s latest guidance, saying the suggested approach of a 'lead in' period to the regulations would be helpful to online businesses.

 

31st May 2011

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