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Update on 'cookie' law

We posted a report by The Enquirer on our website on 19th April about the imminent changes to ‘cookie law’ in the UK, in order to bring it inline with the rest of the EU. (http://www.absolute-data.co.uk/2011/04/19/uk-government-to-adopt-eu-rules-on-browser-cookies-confirms-vaizey/).

The BBC reported on Monday that website are being asked by the ICO to review the way in which they track users on their sites as a step toward ensuring the changes in the law are adhered to. The law officially comes into play on 26th May.

In The Enquirer’s 19th April report, Communications Minister Ed Vaizy was quoted:

“We recognise that work on the technical solutions for cookie use will not be complete by the implementation deadline. It will take time for meaningful solutions to be developed, evaluated and rolled out. Therefore we do not expect the ICO to take enforcement action in the short term against businesses and organisations as they work out how to address their use of cookies.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has re-affirmed its stance and said sites need to be sure their cookies comply with the law and has issued guidance to firms ahead of the 26 May deadline but said that the guidance document was a “work in progress”.”It is not offering all the answers,” said an ICO spokesperson.

Firms are being encouraged to prepare by examining their cookies to see what purpose they fulfill and reach a decision about whether they require “informed consent” from visitors to keep using them. This review process was important to undertake, said the spokesperson, because from 26 May the ICO is obliged to investigate any complaints it gets about the use of non-compliant cookies.

“We will look into those complaints and see what that company is doing to work towards compliance,” said the ICO.

It is still not expected that the ICO will take enforcement action until information about technical solutions has been drawn up.

Third-party cookies, used by advertisers to track users across sites, are likely to be particularly problematic to review and police. One solution, brokered by the Internet Advertising Bureau, might be the use of an icon on adverts that, when clicked, reveals information about data being gathered.

To read this article in full, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13345545 now.