ICO issues last minute cookie law compliance guidance
25 May 2012: The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has today published further updated Guidance to help website owners comply with the cookie law, which comes into force tomorrow, a move welcomed by members of ISBA, the voice of British advertisers.
David Ellison, ISBA’s Marketing Services Manager, said: “Clarification of ‘implied consent’ as a valid mechanism in the new cookie law will reassure those advertisers who have not gone down the ‘explicit consent’ path and is certainly to be welcomed. We are encouraging our members to take a positive approach in communicating with users about cookies used on their website, making users feel safer. It should be looked upon as a marketing opportunity to generate trust.”
The main points of ICO’s updated guidance are:
- Confirmation that an implied consent mechanism is a valid form of consent, rather than an explicit opt-in mechanic.
- If you are relying on implied consent, you need to provide visitors with sufficient information to be satisfied that your users understand that their actions will result in cookies being set. Without this understanding you do not have their informed consent.
- In some circumstances, for example where you are collecting sensitive personal data such as health information, you might feel that explicit consent is more appropriate.
- With regards “prior” consent, the ICO confirms that dropping cookies onto a user’s device should be delayed until they understand the type of cookies being used and indicate their consent. However, if this isn’t possible, websites will need to prove that they are trying to ensure that the user receives information about the cookies being used as soon as possible.
The ICO has written to a sample of 50 organisations behind popular websites to ask for evidence that they have been working towards compliance. The body has also put together a short video to answer:
- How can UK organisations comply with the new cookies changes?
- Is the ICO concerned that many websites aren’t yet compliant?
- What approach will the ICO be adopting to enforcing the amended cookies laws?
- What are the benefits of complying with the new cookies regulations?
- What should members of the public do if they are concerned about cookies being placed on their device?
- How is the ICO working with web browsers and third party advertisers to ensure they comply with the changes?
You can also download the ICO's cookie law guidance here.
ISBA’s top ten cookie tips can be found here.
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