Cookie Law in 12 Months: An E-privacy Directives Update

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26th May saw EU’s ePrivacy directive come into effect, but the UK government has decided to allot websites aimed at UK consumers a time span of 12 months to “get their house in order” before enforcement of the Cookie Law actually begins.  The revised Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations which came into force on 26 May 2011 is meant to allocate more control to users by making websites request consent from users before deploying tracking cookies on their computers.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had published a crude set of initial guidelines on regulations earlier last month that did acknowledge the challenges of abiding with the new law. The UK government has expressed that it needs more time for a workable technical solution to be developed, tested and implemented. The government has teamed up with a few browser manufacturers to see if a browser-based solution in tune with the cookie law can be devised upon. According to many website owners, a consent technology that is incorporated in browsers would work best as compared to the more intrusive pop-ups that will carry similar function. This would prevent the user experience from getting soured by constant bombardment of consent pop-ups.  A proper browser technology that could allow users to offer their explicit consent to a website of choice without much hassle and in a pre-set way is currently not yet evolved but work is being done to achieve the same at the earliest. Already, Microsoft’s IE9 and the latest version of Mozilla’s Firefox offer a setting to protect users from tracking technologies that monitor and collect a user’s browser data. A ‘Do Not Track’ technology is also being developed by Google for its Chrome browser to offer likewise option.

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