You have probably seen that there is a new EU Cookie law. The truth is that this isn’t as new as you think, ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) actually warned us that this was going to happen over a year ago so in reality we have had over a year to prepare for this, which was nice of them. If like most companies this is something that slipped your mind then this article is here to get you up to date.

What is a Cookie?

A Cookie is known by a few names such as HTTP cookie, web cookie, browser cookie etc… It is a piece of information that is sent from a website to a website browser such as Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. Most websites today use these Cookies.

What types of Cookies do websites use?

There are a huge number of ways that Cookies can be done but normally this is done in 2 main ways:

Personal Data

Some Cookies store personal data about the web user. You may have noticed this: You browse around looking at products then when you visit another website to start you get more specific ads with similar products to the ones you have been looking at. This is because the cookies have stored this information then pass it to the ad software.

Visitor Data

Other Cookies are used to store data about visitors in a less personal way. Data is stored about pages visited, time spent on pages etc… The perfect example of this is any tracking software on a website such as Google Analytics.

What was this law introduced?

If you are storing information about people on your website then you are probably using Cookies and this law is in place to ensure that you let visitors to your website know that you are storing information about them. As mentioned above there are 2 main types of information that you may be storing. So there are 2 different ways to complying with the law.

Explicit Consent

This is mainly for when you are gathering personal information about people. For this you need to ask the user if you can use Cookies to gather this information.

Implied Consent

This used to be simply assuming that when users visit a website they know that the website may be storing information about them. Now this is the website owner’s responsibility and you need to ensure that people are aware of this and that they understand about Cookies.

How to let visitors know

There are a lots of ways that you can comply with this law. We have found that the best way is to use script that pops up at the top of the screen the first time someone visits our website letting them know that we store Cookies and what information the Cookies store. Then this will give them an option of whether they want to accept this or not. We believe this is the best way to comply with this law.

However a lot of companies have opted for the short cut method which is simply includes information at the bottom of a page that has a link to Cookie information. At the same time as half complying with the Implied Consent method we think this would not pass a check and would be to similar to hiding the information away on a privacy statement.

We recommend asking for consent to be safe and here is a great tool you or your developers can use to generate a script that is similar to ours: