New EU Cookie Law Guidance for 2012
Last May Simply-Docs provided some prospective guidance and commentary on the new EU Cookie Law. Formally known as the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, as amended by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011, the regulations address important privacy requirements imposed upon website owners operating websites within the EU.
From May 2011, the UK Government opted to allow a one-year grace period prior to enforcing the new law. Although it came into force on 26th May 2011, the Information Commissioner’s Office is not due to begin enforcing it until 26th May 2012.
Cookies: A Quick Review
Another popular use for cookies is web analytics. In this case, cookies are used to track users’ movements and activities around a website, thus enabling website owners to better understand their users, their wants and their needs.
What Does the Law Require?
Simply put, whereas prior to 2011 the law only required that website users be allowed to opt-out of receiving cookies, now the law requires that website owners obtain users’ express consent before placing cookies. Whilst in 2011, we speculated that only third party cookies would be significantly affected, it is now clear that both first and third party cookies are subject to the consent requirement. Only cookies deemed to be “strictly necessary” are excused.
What Are the Practical Implications?
But my website is fine and my users are happy… This isn’t fair!
You are not alone. Many website owners are unhappy about the new EU Cookie Law and argue that nobody particularly complains about cookies. Indeed many fear that users will be annoyed by the new consent measures that may be required.
Nevertheless, the new rules have honourable roots in seeking to increase and protect the privacy of internet users and in seeking to improve the understanding of internet users with regard to cookies and online privacy in general.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.