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The EU Cookie Directive

EU Cookie Directive?

The EU Cookie directive comes into force for UK-based websites on 25th May 2012. This directive came into force for some other countries in the EU a year ago, but the UK government gave website owners here an additional year to make their sites compliant, whilst at the same time hoping that the directive itself was clarified.

What is the EU Cookie Directive??

For those not already aware, the supposed aim of this legislation is to increase online security and data privacy, giving users more control over what data can be held about them. It addresses concerns with how personal information is held and used. Some users – albeit a small minority – are concerned with what they see as the development of a ‘Big Brother’ society in which their every move is being recorded.

What does the EU Cookie Directive mean to your website?

From 25th May 2012, all websites must inform visitors if they use non-essential cookies AND must obtain permission from visitors to store those cookies on their computer. This will impact many thousands of website owners, given that the majority of websites use cookies.

How you choose to deal with this directive is up to individual website owners, implementing the directive is likely to impact on your website traffic initially until more site visitors become used to this notification, as more people may click away from your site rather than accept the cookies. This is annoying on as many sites operating outside of the EU may not disclose their use of cookies, but nonetheless is likely to discourage some from entering your website.

Will my website be affected by the EU Cookie Directive?

The majority of websites use cookies. However, some cookie use is exempt from the directive, these cookies are used to provide a user function that would not be possible without the use of the cookies. I.e. a shopping cart system would need to use cookies to store the contents of the cart when you shop for goods and to ensure that when they went to check out the contents of the cart were available, to allow for regular login or to fill out a form.

If you are using thirdparty cookies such as Google Analytics that track visitor usage of the site, are caught by the directive. This means, the directive applies to you.

What do I need to do to comply?

To comply with the new cookie legislation, you will need to make changes to your website to indicate your use of cookies transparent and prominent, and to allow users to give consent to the use of certain cookies.

What if I don’t comply?

As the EU Cookie Directive is a law! It is speculated that the law will be hard to enforce, but the penalties for non-compliance could be severe.

Please call us to find out more: 01707 378455

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