New 'cookie' regulations mean UK websites must seek consent before storing data from today: Implementation deadline for UK organisations to have systems in place to obtain consent from visitors to their websites for the storing or access of information on their computers using 'cookies'.
The amendment to the European Commission's Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive came into force in May 2011, but the UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham gave British organisations a year to conform. A code of conduct introduced by the London office of the International Chamber of Commerce at the beginning of April implied website owners will need to differentiate between cookies that they need simply to make a website work, those that provide enhanced functionality, and those that exist simply to gather information for the site's own purposes. Most UK companies are reportedly expected to miss today's deadline, but Mr Graham and Communications Minister Ed Vaizey have said that they are unlikely to punish firms severely while the new policies are phased in
In response Dr Martyn Thomas of the Institution of Engineering & Technology says:
“The Institution of Engineering & Technology supports the legislation that internet users should only be tracked if there is a legal requirement to do so, or if they have actively agreed that their browsing can be monitored by websites or their ISP.
However, the implementation of this directive is likely to prove very variable until the introduction of a set of standards on the best way to provide a balance between easy browsing and personal privacy. We had hoped that more progress would have been made on achieving this in the twelve month implementation delay that the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, gave British organisations, when the EC’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive came into force in May 2011.”
Notes to editors:
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