EU Directives on 'Cookies' Finally Forces Websites to Get User Consent to Gather Data

An EU directive on 'cookies' - small pieces of text stored on a user's computer by a web browser - will dictate that web users must give 'explicit consent' to have their details gathered by the cookies.Given the widespread use of cookies by most sites today, the implications of the law, which comes into effect […]

An EU directive on 'cookies' - small pieces of text stored on a user's computer by a web browser - will dictate that web users must give 'explicit consent' to have their details gathered by the cookies.

Given the widespread use of cookies by most sites today, the implications of the law, which comes into effect on May 25, are massive as it'll affect every European website and user.

Cookies are widely used to help users navigate faster around sites they visit regularly, but they've also become key drivers in the battle by marketing companies to monetise content. Cookies that log what people have put in online shopping baskets are excluded by the directive.

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

Although the plans were set out over 18 months ago, they're now coming into full force and business are trying to work out how to best seek a user's permission. The minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, said in a statement the law would "cause uncertainty for businesses and consumers", "...we don't expect the Information Commissioner's Office to take enforcement action in the short term against businesses and organisations as they work out how to address their use of cookies," he added.

He says by forcing users to opt in to get cookies and having to provide detailed instructions on how to remove them will cripple the internet.

And online chat networks say that cookies play a key role in protecting children and vulnerable people from troublemakers.

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