The EU Cookie Crisis Explained close

Mark McDermott
Mark McDermott
In Codegent College
17th May 2012
The EU Cookie Crisis Explained

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2011 was introduced into the UK last May as a response to wider European legislation on Internet Privacy, specifically around the use of cookies.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files stored on users computers that allow websites to retain a variety of pieces of information. Cookies allow websites to remember users login status, shopping carts contents and any preferences for the current ‘state’ of a web page. They are also used to help target advertising based on behaviour patterns and power tracking tools like Google Analytics.

Oh, so this applies to my site then?

Yep! And it caused quite a stir at the time of launch until the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who will enforce the law, gave companies until 26 May 2012 to ensure their websites were compliant.

At the time many of us hoped that this issue would be taken up at a browser level and therefore not impact websites directly but as we cannot guarantee that users will use the latest versions of these it would be impossible to implement the law across the board. IE 6/7/8 strikes again!

So from 26 May website owners must supply users with information about the cookies on their websites, and crucially, must seek their implied consent to place them.

Some key facts

  • The location of your hosting is irrelevant. The location of your company or organisation is what matters.
  • The law does not cover cookies “strictly necessary for a service requested by a user