Keep Calm and Cookie On

Keep Calm and Cookie On

The long time coming deadline for enforcement of e-privacy legislation to include cookies, finally arrives this Saturday 26th May. In summary, the law states that every business or organisation that operates in the digital world must gain positive consent from consumers before any tracking technology is deployed on their web enabled device.

All the indicators suggest that many businesses may miss the UK deadline and the BBC reports (17th May) that the UK Government itself will miss the deadline to make necessary changes for many of its own department websites.

Other EU markets are struggling too. Very recently, Germany for example, hasn't even put the directive into law yet. Others haven't had  the one year 'grace period' like we've had in the UK, yet many businesses here are still not compliant a year on. So it's difficult to judge the risk of being prosecuted in each market right now.

Fortunately, in the UK a lot of industry thinking and a lot more clarity has evolved in recent weeks. There are now some live examples of websites which have taken measures to comply with the updated law. Some are good whilst others are not so great.

From May 26th, businesses in the UK could be subject to prosecution if they aren't compliant. However, it's clear that the Information Commissioner's Office is taking a very pragmatic view about the whole thing and indeed being a 'lean department', enforcing the cookie law is unlikely to be at the top of their priority list.

The official advice is to do a cookie audit, document a plan and implement a solution. Every business should have completed this before the deadline. But if you haven't got a solution ready, you must have made some demonstrable progress, because otherwise you're at risk, albeit a low risk.

So the message really is to keep calm and cookie on, calm at least until the next wave of legislation arrives soon in the form of the draft EU Data Protection Act…

TMW has produced a whitepaper on how to achieve effective compliance, which can be downloaded here