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EU Cookie Laws Changed Again


What happened?

Last year, an EU privacy directive came into force in the UK, requiring websites to ask before installing nonessential cookies on your computer. But the day before enforcement began, the data watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) changed its new cookie rules, saying that it would accept “implied consent" of cookie acceptance. This led many websites to merely place a one-time banner on their opening page saying cookies will be used, and if you don't like it, stop using the site.

How will it affect you? 

If you thought the law was silly, this might be good news, but it won't really change how cookies are used in advertising and analytics In practice, you should expect to see a banner or pop-up on sites you visit warning that they use cookies and linking to a policy document.

What do we think? 

This last-minute change of mind does nothing but punish websites that have dutifully put the time and effort into meeting the law, and leaves users less well protected than the EU directive intends. On the other hand, the cookie consent rule is rather overbearing, so the ICO's weak will may actually be a good thing. It's just a shame the U-turn didn't come earlier.

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