May 26th cookie regulation in the UK
The EU ‘Cookie Law’, which requires websites to gain consent before storing cookies on users’ computers, was passed in May 2011. The Information Comissioner’s Office (ICO) granted firms a year to comply before prosecuting any cases.
What is a ‘cookie’?
“A cookie is a small text file stored by a web site on your computer to keep track of information about your browsing on that site.”
A year later and the deadline is fast approaching. However, it’s clearly obvious the majority of the UK isn’t ready for the regulation (including the Government itself). So what effect does this regulation have on the average publisher website?
Without much guidance from the authorities it’s easy to bury your head in the sand and hope this passes over. However, the law is a wake-up call to the industry and therefore we could soon be reading about a large publisher being taken to court as a test case. It’s clear that EU policymakers want the internet industry to show it can be trusted to police itself, using innovative tools and approaches that are fit for our fast-moving world.
Fortunately the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain are all examples of Opt-Out, or ‘implied consent’, countries.
Opt-Out: Otherwise known as “Implied Consent”, this seems to be the most common interpretation for the directive, and allows compliance with informed consent. So by allowing users to see they are being cookied and how this is being used, combined with reasonable information to the user on the reasoning behind it and giving instructions on how to opt out, the user is given the ability to make an informed choice on whether or not they wish to allow the cookies on their system to be used. The UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain are all examples of Opt-Out countries.
Within the affiliate market the cookies being passed around are business critical, they are integral to following a user’s affiliate engagement and associating that journey with the publisher. It’s therefore important to adopt an open attitude with immediate effect. None of us want the regulations to get any more complicated! Implementing the following steps are a good way to ensure you are letting your users know exactly what information you are storing.
- Get to grips with how your site works or what technology you’re working with
- Be very clear and transparent on how you present information to consumers
- Make your privacy information more prominent on your site
As a Coull publisher in opt-out countries in Europe, how can I be sure I’m compliant?
Head of Development