The Cookie Law is now in effect across the EU and website owners need to understand their new obligations towards their visitors.
The law is amended privacy legislation that requires websites to obtain informed consent from visitors to store or retrieve any information on a computer or any other web connected device.
This requires most websites to make some changes to the way they work.
The EU cookie law is a piece of privacy legislation that was originally adopted by all EU countries on May 26th 2011. The UK was given one year to comply with the EU directive after it updated its Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which brought the EU directive in to UK law.
The cookie law requires websites to gain consent from visitors to store or receive any information on a computer or any other web connected devices (e.g. smartphone or tablet). The cookie law has been designed to protect online privacy of customers by making them aware, and giving them a choice, about the amount of information collected by websites. Each EU member has its own approach to the law; however the basic requirements of the directive remain the same.
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is responsible for ensuring that organisations comply with the cookie law. The ICO has issue two sets of guidelines, so far, with the most recent reminding those concerned how the law ‘will not go away.’
From 26 May 2012 if a business is not compliant, or is not visibly working towards compliance, it will run the risk of enforcement action and a possible fine of up to half a million pounds.
To read more on this, you can download the Information Commissioner's advice (PDF).