On the 26th of May new European privacy laws come in to place in the UK, giving internet users an increased control over what data sites are allowed to collect about them. The Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) legislation affects what companies can do with cookies. These are small files used to log data about a user which websites utilise, to map use and provide relevant data.
A document has been issued by the ICO guiding firms on what they should do to ensure they are compliant with the new legislation, however the document is considered to be a “work in progress” and a final copy will not be in place until after the 26th of May.
For users this means that you will now potentially be posed with an explicit question such as a pop up when you visit a site, or a clause being present in the terms and conditions requiring your acceptance for that company to use it’s cookies on your system. For firms the law change will result in having to identify where it is appropriate to collect this consent. However difficulties will arise when consumers refuse consent, leading to a reduction in targeted content being presented to the user.
Under the new legislation the ICO is obliged to investigate any claims it receives from members of the public regarding a breach of compliance. The Department for Media Culture and Sport (DCMS) announced that whilst complaints maybe investigated, enforcement actions will not be taken until the guidelines have been drawn up.
For now, in order to comply with the new regulations. businesses will need to begin ascertaining what cookies are used on their websites, where they are used, how much scope they have and how to gain consumer’s consent to use them.
(Image by Lara604)