UK based websites can assume implied consent over EU cookie legislation

by Simon. Average Reading Time: about a minute.

There has been a lot of melodrama and misunderstanding about EU cookie legislation and how the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) would be enforcing the regulations, not helped by the misinformation and poor guidance from the ICO themselves.

For those of you not in the know, cookies are small text files that are stored on the user’s computer, which can be used to identify the user when logging into a website or making a purchase. They can also be used to gather anonymous analytics and for behavioural advertising.

Well the enforcement day has come and gone; it was the 26th May 2012 for those of you that have missed the commotion. After substantial uproar and at the 11th hour, the ICO seem to have backed down . The ICO will not be enforcing its extreme position on cookies on UK websites.

In an updated version of its advice for websites on how to use cookies the ICO has said that websites can assume that users have consented to their use of them. The use of “implied consent” shifts responsibility to the user rather than the website owner, and will come as a relief to thousands of website owners who have been struggling to comply with new EU directives which came into law a year ago.

Of course, big organisations like the BBC and John Lewis have spent large sums of money on developing their solutions, so I doubt they’ll be too chuffed by the ICO’s u-turn.

Boagworld have a good couple of articles that follow the story: Do you need to worry about the cookie crisis, The EU cookie law: what to do now and Websites can assume “implied consent”.

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