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Why you should be telling people about your cookies.

10th October 2016 by Why you should be telling people about your cookies.

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The type of cookies I refer to has no calories, no affiliation with the lovable blue muppet from Sesame Street and provides no dizzying sugar rush. I refer to internet cookies; files that are sent to the users of virtually every website to carry out various functions. Some remember your log-in details for you. Others count the number of visitors to a website. Some even tailor the adverts that appear on a website based on your browsing history (enticing you to purchase that holiday / car / bargain neon green mohair jumper by showing it to you again, and again, and again in the corner of your screen – hard to resist if you are a late-night online shopaholic).

Perhaps you are well acquainted with the concept of cookies. Website providers have been obliged to provide their users with further information about these files and how they are used for a number of years now (since May 2012 to be precise). Yet an investigation into the practices of 478 websites frequently visited by European citizen’s shows that a worrying number of websites are failing to comply with EU legislation.

Less than three quarters of the sites investigated provided notification that cookies were being used.  Even then, 50% of these sites merely informed users that cookies were in use without requesting consent.

Only 16% of the sites gave users an appropriate level of control to make their cookie choices freely and refuse the use of cookies.   In short, not enough is being done to provide notice and obtain valid consent for the use of these device-identifying technologies.

Why is this important? Because the UK’s regulator (the Information Commissioner’s Office) has already stated that it will be considering whether further action is required. It is actively encouraging the public to report sites that are failing to toe the line. And it has the power to make enforcement orders, and issue monetary fines of up to £500,000. Whilst it is known for acting proportionately, the Information Commissioner’s Office is also keen to show that it takes its duties seriously.

You may be one of the proud minority that has a properly drafted privacy policy in place that is fully complied with. For everyone else that manages a website, now is the time to get cookie-savvy.  The good news is it will require no extra time at the gym.

For more information contact Sam Freeman on 01202 557256 or by email at s.freeman@laceyssolicitors.co.uk

 

 

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