Users will have to explicitly consent to cookies after 25th May

  • 1
  • March 8, 2011
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

European laws are being brought in to make it illegal for websites to use cookies without a users explicit consent after 25th May this year.

There are no specific guidelines in place on how websites are supposed to gain this consent but the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive laws will be enforceable after this date although it’s unlikely anybody will actually take action.

I don’t think that the people who drew up the laws have thought about how websites will get this permission. If you use a popup window then it will require some clever coding to load the popup window and then set the cookie for something like Google Analytics after the user has accepted the T&C’s. Most browsers have tools to either block, accept or prompt for cookies however these are controlled by the browser rather than the site owner.

Also, how the government intends to police this is beyond me. There is no way in the world that small businesses will change their websites to meet these guidelines.

The exact steps that businesses have to go through to comply with the law and gain consent from customers and users are being drawn up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

A spokesman for the DCMS said that work on the regulations was “ongoing” but would not be complete by 25 May.

In a statement, Ed Vaizey, minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, said he recognised that the delay would “cause uncertainty for businesses and consumers”.

More details via the FT and the BBC.