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BizReport : Law & Regulation : May 10, 2011

New European law on use of cookies looms

UK websites have two weeks left to comply with new European laws which require user consent before cookies can be used to store and retrieve information on users' computers.

by Helen Leggatt

It's not long until new European privacy laws come in to force in the UK and, to prepare businesses for what is being described as challenging task, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued compliance guidelines (.pdf).

The deadline for businesses to comply with the new law is just two weeks away. On that day - 26 May - consumers will be given more power over what information websites gather about them.

The amendment to the European Union's Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive will require that websites in the UK get "informed consent" from visitors to store and retrieve information on users' computers.

"The ICO recognizes that cookies perform a number of legitimate functions. We also recognize that gaining consent will, in many cases, be a challenge," said the ICO in its report.

"Complying with the new rules will allow you to be confident that your users have a better and clearer understanding of what you do and how you do it."

Tags: cookies, European Law, online privacy, online tracking

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