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EU Privacy Directive

18th April 2012

EU Privacy Directive (Cookie Law)
Introduction

Cookie Law is a new piece of legislation, adopted by all EU countries and comes fully into effect on 26 May 2012.

It is designed to help with privacy requiring websites to obtain consent from visitors to store or retrieve information – and that means all web connected devices, whether a PC, laptop or a smartphone or tablet.

The deal is that any visitor to a website should be made aware of how information is collected by websites and enable them to choose whether or not they want to such information to be collected.

This sounds as if most people will say ‘no’ if asked the question. Well, the choice has to be given – however, many websites will not be fully functional without collecting such information and, indeed, much of the content served to the visitor is driven by an understanding of the historic uses and interests of that visitor.

So, this sounds like a sensible move for the individual but has a number of implications for your business. And indeed, non-compliance could lead you to run the risk of enforcement action or even a fine up to half a million pounds for a serious breach.

What is it?

Most websites use files which are called ‘cookies’ (hence the name of the law) which store information in your web browser during and following your visit to the site. This information can be very useful to the individual. Cookie usage is varied but includes temporary storage of data for shopping carts or searches , tracking usage of websites and help with targeted advertising – meaning that you get relevant advertising to you. To a website owner, the information can be crucial, helping you understand how visitors are using your website, what they, what they don’t like etc. The information is usually anonymous and unlikely to be traceable back to an individual. Nonetheless,  some people are uncomfortable with the information being tracked without their permission.

How does it affect your website?

Almost all websites use cookies and similar technologies – especially company websites, e-commerce sites, and any sites that carry advertising. The new legislation is designed to make people aware that the website is recording information by way of cookies. As a result, your website must avoid the use of cookies or similar technologies, unless the user:

  • is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of, or access to, that information; and
  • has given his or her consent

This can be done through telling users that and why cookies are being used, link to a privacy policy and give an option to turn off the cookies (although this might affect functionality of the site).

This being new legislation, you will almost certainly need to make changes to your website to comply with the law.

What can we do for you?

There is complexity to this of course. Switching off cookies may stop your website from working effectively. How the warning of cookies is displayed may affect the usage of your website.

Don’t worry, there are a few things that Crush can do for you.
We can undertake a Cookie audit for you. This will tell you what cookies are used in your website, how intrusive they are with a list of specific recommendations.

  • We’ll add some code to all your pages in your site, this will request the required consent in a styled modal(popup) window and provide a link through to your privacy page.
  • We’ll either add or provide relevant text to add to your privacy policy this will outline the cookies you use and why and also provide links for those wishing to adjust their browser settings.

Click on this link or call us on 0845 658 1657 to schedule your Cookie Law Audit to bring you up to date with the current legislation.

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