New Laws for the use of cookies

New Laws for the use of cookies and other technologies that store on-line user information

On May 26th 2011, new rules governing the use of cookies by websites comes into force in Europe.

Rather than the “Opt out” option for website visitors, websites will need to specifically gain the consent of their visitor and they must “Opt In” to be able to store cookies on their computer or other devices.This is expected to be difficult to manage and enforcement will more than likely be done subtly and with encouragement rather than with the threat of fines and penalties.

What does the new law say?

The new requirement is essentially that cookies can only be placed on machines where the user or subscriber has given their consent.

6 (1) Subject to paragraph (4), a person shall not store or gain access to information stored, in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user unless the requirements of paragraph (2) are met.

(2) The requirements are that the subscriber or user of that terminal equipment–
(a) is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of, or access to, that information; and
(b) has given his or her consent.
(3) Where an electronic communications network is used by the same person to store or access information in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user on more than one occasion, it is sufficient for the purposes of this regulation that the requirements of paragraph (2) are met in respect of the initial use.
“(3A) For the purposes of paragraph (2), consent may be signified by a subscriber who amends or sets controls on the internet browser which the subscriber uses or by using another application or programme to signify consent.
(4) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the technical storage of, or access to, information–
(a) for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network; or
(b) where such storage or access is strictly necessary for the provision of an information society service requested by the subscriber or user.

More information on the new changes can be found here.

Information on Cookies, what they are and what they do can be found here.

  • This is going to be a killer for a lot of web designers/developers.

    Or should I say for their client’s

    Although from what I have read, and correct me if I am wrong, it is aimed more at persistent/tracking cookies, than user session/shopping cart cookies?

  • Hi Simon,

    The initiative is:

    CookieCrunch.co.uk is building a cookie knowledge base inline with the cookie law (<— http://www.cookiecrunch.co.uk).

    It is an open source knowledge base about the cookies that are storing and passing your data and browsing habits back to all range of businesses.

    Using this knowledge base intend to create a free, consumer led service that will allow you to find out more about who is watching you – and enable you to take back control. The plugin is available for Firefox and Chrome.

    Thanks
    Jason