The EU and ICO are at it again!

If you’ve visited the site before, hello again and thanks for coming back but you’ll have missed the new addition to the site. Allow me to explain. On May 26th 2011 a new EU originated law came into effect that requires website owners like me to make changes to their sites and change the whole web browsing and shopping experience for everybody. This Cookie Law is amended privacy legislation that requires websites to obtain informed consent from visitors before they can store or retrieve any information on a computer or any other web connected device.

New visitors will see a notice to that affect when they first come to my website as of now, where they can say either yes or no to allow cookies and be directed accordingly. There are plenty of free plugins out there to do this, but using them generally just helps the SEO for the site you got the plugin from (it was free for a reason, they benefit from giving it to you!) so SOD THAT! I did my own!

We’ll all see a lot of this happening on various websites. Websites planting cookies on the machines of their visitors will need to get explicit permission to do so beginning May 25 this year. The new rules were introduced as part of a shake-up in privacy legislation and are intended to protect consumers from unwanted and intrusive spying. As such they are to be commended.

My best bet is that the ICO is likely to be quite tough on sites that do not comply and are not going to sit around merely responding to complaints from the public, but will take action on their own initiative when they see sites doing nothing to comply. Of course they won’t be chasing everybody but they will certainly be looking at high profile, high traffic sites that appear to be doing nothing.

I think this change in emphasis has come from a certain frustration that there has not been enough visible activity from websites in the last year to become compliant. It’s clear however that actions taken will be proportionate, and the important thing is not to worry about perfect compliance on day one – but to start moving towards compliance now.

Come May 26th, if you are the lowest hanging fruit on the website tree, you will be an easy target. The time for doing nothing about this issue is over.

admin posted at 2012-5-10 Category: Computing