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Cookie Legislation Causes Confusion – Again…

We applaud the idea of protected privacy but the role out in the UK has been less a roll out than a “creep up and smack”

Over the past few days Clickingmad staff have been furiously contacting all of our clients to outline the “new” regulations and gain their instructions on which option to go for to help them comply with the new law.

are cookies dangerous
Clearly Cookies should be banned - NOT!

These regulations have come about as a result of European legislation to increase the level of privacy protection for web users. Some very large and very popular websites track users web activity in order to eventually sell more goods and services to them – No really? What a surprise!

We applaud the idea of protected privacy but the role out in the UK has been less a roll out than a “creep up and smack” due to lack of guidance from central government, the Information Commission and browser software providers, yes I mean you Mr Internet Explorer and your current 1st place usurper Google Chrome.

The legislation came into force in May 2011, but the UK were given another 12 months to comply. Needless to say we haven’t. Despite your politics and opinion on the validity of this legislation I bet you have not been made aware of the rule change by your ISP, Website Development Company or anyone else in a position to help.

We waited until the very last minute, the day before to be exact, before we contacted our clients. The reason we delayed was to hopefully see some positive action on this subject. We were, along with everyone else, left to decide for ourselves what was best to do. Indeed website owners have been left to decide what is best. We think that this is very poor indeed.

We have given our clients three choices

1) Comply fully and not allow a site to be displayed until the question of whether a user will allow cookies to be installed on the website until they say they are OK with that. Clearly a major negative for most websites, as the average user will run a mile if they think that the website is asking for permission to raid their bank account or some such misconception. Particularly a problem we feel for eCommerce websites.

2) Have a simple statement to say the website uses Cookies and if the user wants more info; a link to find out more and that gives the links required to learn to erase them from their machines.

3) Do nothing and risk prosecution (however small that chance may be)

Not much of a choice I hear you say. Absolutely. But if you read the Information Commissioners website advice (click here to visit now) then you will only let your website be visible by someone who has an MSc in Computer Science and who understands that on the whole cookies are benign. The tone is “oh it’s alright don’t worry”. I think that this is very poor as it does not deal with the issue effectively at all.

Important note, in all our communications with our clients we have advised them to get legal advice independently and not to take our word for it. We aren’t legal experts after all. We are web experts!

So if you want an idea of what I decided to do, and the majority of our clients have also done, check out our main website on www.clickingmad.com and you will see the way we are dealing with it.

Please contact your website provider to get this sorted… Just in case.