New ‘Cookie Law’

This is an EU originated law that comes in to effect on May 26th 2012. As a website owner you are responsible for ensuring the law is adhered to.

This ‘Cookie Law’ is amended privacy legislation that requires websites to obtain informed consent from visitors before they can store or retrieve any information on a computer or any other web connected device.

The legislation states that it is the website owner’s responsibility to ensure that these laws are adhered to. At Voodoo Agency we would like to advise you of the options available to you.

What is a Cookie?

A cookie is a piece of data that is stored in a user’s web browser when they visit a website. An example of how a cookie would be used is a website with a member’s area where users are required to login to view protected information or pages. When the user logs in a cookie is set to say they have permission to view the protected pages in the member’s area.

Please note this is an example of a cookie and cookies don’t only apply to websites with member’s areas or logins. Most websites use cookies in one form or another to achieve a wide range of results, such as website tracking and Google Analytics. If cookies are disabled functionality on the website could be compromised.

What is the EU cookie legislation?

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.

The legislation forces websites to be transparent about how they are using cookies, detailing exactly what information each cookie holds and how long it will be held, and requires them to actively request permission from their users before cookies can be used.

Previously, the law dictated that websites had to explain how they were using cookies and how users can ‘opt out’. Most sites did so in their Privacy Policies, but this isn’t enough under the new law users have to be made fully aware of the implications of the cookies being used on the website.

Information to take in to consideration:

This law affects ALL websites.

The responsibility is with the website owner to ensure that the legislation is adhered to and fines may be imposed if there hasn’t been sufficient compliance.

Tools such as Google Analytics, Facebook like buttons and Tweet buttons all use cookies to record data on visitors to a website. If these Analytics cookies are turned off then inaccurate information may be gathered.

E-Commerce sites are not exempt from the law as they must have a cookie Privacy Statement that details all cookies that are used on the site, including cookies used for shopping carts.

If cookies are disabled functionality on the website could be compromised.

The new legislation states that the cookie policy now needs to be prominent on all websites and not hidden in a general Privacy Policy.

Will the changes affect the working of my website?

Cookies are an important part of most websites and if disabled some functionality on the website could be compromised. For example most websites set a cookie when a user arrives at the website. This is then used to identify you as a user and from this we can say wether the user us logged into a secure area, has an item in their shopping basket or is collecting data via Google Analytics.

If a cookie is disabled then a user will not be able to log into their account or add items to their shopping basket.

What needs to be done to work towards complying with the law?

A full audit on the website that will determine what cookies are set. At Voodoo Agency we would be delighted to do this for you for an agreed fee.

We can write a Cookie Privacy Policy that gives users information on all the cookies are used on the website.

Carry out the changes required to your website to help you work towards becoming compliant.

If you would like further information about the pending cookie legislation or would like Voodoo Agency to carry out an audit then please call 0845 056 0012 or email contact@voodooagency.com



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