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BizReport : Law & Regulation : May 31, 2011

Online firms in UK granted more time to comply with new cookie regs

Online retailers in the UK have been given a 12 month extension on an EU deadline to ensure their websites comply with challenging new cookie requirements.

by Helen Leggatt

Britain's Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, has announced that online retailers and other organizations now have up to 12 months to "get their house in order" before a revision of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive is finally enforced.

The amendment requires that, as of May 26, 2011, websites in the UK obtain "informed consent" from visitors to store and retrieve information on users' computers. The more intrusive the cookie, the higher the standard of consent required.

However, complying with the new regulations has proved challenging, hence the extension of time before they must comply.

"Although there isn't a formal transitional period in the regulations, the government has said they don't expect the ICO to enforce this new rule straight away," said Graham.

"So we're giving businesses and organizations up to one year to get their house in order. This does not let everyone off the hook. Those who choose to do nothing will have their lack of action taken into account when we begin formal enforcement of the rules."

Tags: cookies, European Union, online privacy, online tracking, UK

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