2012 Cookie Legislation

May 2012 saw the introduction of the new cookie legislation. This EU directive led to a huge amount of debate in the digital marketing world.

As digital marketing experts, we will supply you with the information you need to make sure you're compliant.

What is the cookie law?

The cookie law is a new piece of legislation aimed at protecting consumer's personal information. It originates from the EU's Privacy and Communications Directive.

Who is affected by it?

If your website runs cookies, then it affects your business. It is you as the site owner who is affected, not your website host or supplier.

How do I know if my site uses cookies?

If your site tracks visitor movements in any way, such as using Google Analytics, or a Content Management System such as WordPress, it's likely that you use some form of cookies.

What do I do to make sure I'm compliant?

In a recent update to the law, it is stated that implied consent (opt out rather than opt it) is fine, so:

  • Make sure visitors have clear notice that the website uses cookies and what they are used for
  • Make sure the visitors to your website have choice e.g. that they can exercise control over the use of cookies (even if it means your site won't display properly for them)

Does it include Google Analytics?

The law does cover Google Analytics, although the focus is not on this and therefore it is less urgent.

The ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) have stated it is highly unlikely that priority for any formal action will be given to focusing on cookies where there is a low level of intrusiveness and risk of harm to individuals; for example analytic cookies that collect anonymous data.

The important thing to remember is that there is a sliding scale of intrusiveness of cookies e.g. the more intrusive (high/medium), the more important it is to gain express consent.

Things to be aware of

Be aware, no matter what your business size, that you could still face enforcement action for high to medium intrusive cookies, and failure to comply can result in fines up to £500,000.

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June 27, 2012
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