cookies

IS YOUR WEBSITE BREAKING THE LAW?  HOW USING GOOGLE ANALYTICS COULD COST YOU UP TO £500 000

By Sue Davis

On May 26 2012 a new EU law came in whereby all websites using cookies had to seek visitors’ informed consent to cookies being saved to their computers when they visited a website.  
 
Many site owners didn’t comply at first because they were concerned that visitors to their site may be put off if they were asked about cookies.  It is also potentially expensive to implement an opt-in solution.  Luckily just before the law came into effect the ICO made a last minute change to the requirement from explicit approval to implied consent.  Here’s what this means for you.
 
Cookies are small text files stored on your computer or device when you visit a website to help the site to recognise the device.  

There are various types of cookies which include:-
 
  • Making site easier to use by remembering information you have stored such as items placed on a wish list on Amazon
  • Helping to understand how people use a website, this includes Google Analytics
  • Allowing the site to work properly and keeping it secure such as Internet Banking
  • Improving your experience by showing information relevant to you, for example if you are searching for a loan you might see more adverts for loans
  • Advertising tracking cookies for example if you have paid advertising on your site
  • Third party cookies such as those that may be set by social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.  No website that uses sharing buttons such as ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ for social networks has any control over third-party cookies such as these and you will need to implement a cookie policy.

Implementing a solution:-
 
  • Check whether your site is using cookies, your web developer (or similar expert) will be able to tell you this
  • If you are using a cookie to store your visitor’s cookie preference make sure it won’t be deleted in a month or you will have to seek consent all over again, every month!
  • If you have website visitors from outside of the EU they are not subject to these rules so will need to be handled differently
  • If you collect personal information consider an opt-in solution which ensures regulatory certainty
  • For most people an ‘implied consent’ option will suffice, for example a prominent notice on all landing pages and the information “continued use of this site indicates acceptance of our use of cookies” with a link to the cookie policy, how cookies are used on that site and a reminder that cookies can be disabled.

Most sites have now implemented a solution so there is less concern about visitors thinking your site is somehow suspicious; indeed now you may stand out as suspect if you don’t have a cookie law compliance solution.

What to do next

We've added our version to this site.  You can chose your own words, how big the notification is and any other design element you wish.   At £229 it costs much less than a fine of up to £500,000! 

To make this work we don't need to have built the site or to host it.  We do need to be able to get access to it (to see that we are trustworthy please see our membership of
Trading Standards Buy with Confidence)

Call us on 01227 700009 or email
sue@designadvantage.co.uk
to find out how to make your website cookie compliant.