From 26 May website owners now need to gain ‘explicit’ consent from their users before they allow cookies to be downloaded and used, the only exception been ‘essential’ cookies such as those used on e-commerce sites and where users choose to stay logged into online services.
While the law will not be enforced for another year, failure to take any action before 26 May 2012 will result in a fine of up to £500,000 in the UK.
The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) hopes the new regulations will lead to greater control over personal data but the upshot will undoubtedly be an outbreak in pop-up warnings and messages. The Radio Times website is the first I’ve seen to do this.
Although pop-ups certainly detract from the user experience, I suspect they’re simplicity will see them widely used as site owners decide on the best course of action. It will be interesting to see how the major players handle this new legislation and how users come to terms with the potential confusion of visiting UK and non-UK websites.
Chances are, browser developers will push their cookie management preferences to the front more and build in ‘defaults’ we can check and forget about (over and above what’s possible now) but until then, I’ll leave the following advice for users and site owners alike:
- First, look at cookie
- Now, identify the cookie
- Then, smell cookie
- Finally, eat the cookie… Om nom nom nom!
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Photo credit: Flickr user neil conway
- Web Security.