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Use of Cookies

Feb 20 2012

Use of Cookies

Relevance:             All firms operating a website which uses ‘cookies’

Action required:     Reminder - Review the use of cookies and decide how you will obtain user consent (Deadline May 2012).

Last year we advised you that the law relating to the use of “cookies” on websites had changed;

  • The old rules said that you had to tell users what cookies were doing, why they were there, and how users could opt out of receiving them.
  • The new rules require that websites obtain a user’s consent before using cookies.

So it is “opt in” rather than “opt out” (courtesy of another directive from Europe!).

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been given the job of regulating this position and firms were given 12 months from 26 May 2011 to enable them to review their use of cookies and to start thinking about how to comply with the revised law.

So, if you run a website, the ICO recommends that you should be taking the following steps:

1.    Check what type of cookies and similar technologies you use and how you use them;

2.    Assess how intrusive your use of cookies is;

3.    Decide what solution to obtain consent will be best in your circumstances.

Remember, the ICO has powers to fine firms that show a disregard to their “use of cookies” obligations and this could be as high as £500,000.

There is a lot of information available on what to do but checking with your website provider is a good place to start.

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