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European Cookie Law

Published on 13th May 2012

Cookies are very small files that are stored on your computer and placed there by the websites your visit.

Almost all websites use cookies, usually to customise your web browsing experience. E-commerce sites will use cookies so that the shopping cart remembers what items you have placed in the basket whilst you are shopping and sites requiring you to login to access certain pages will also use cookies to remember you and keep you logged in.

Search engines may use cookies to remember your searches for the purpose of serving you with targeted ads that are relevant to your search terms and many sites use cookies through their use of tools like Google Analytics.

A very good information site  about what cookies are and their use can be found at www.allaboutcookies.org

In May 2011, a European privacy law came into force requiring websites to ask visitors for their consent to use cookies. Although the law came into effect in 2011, UK companies were given one year to comply.

The aim of this new law is positive in that it wants to make sure that a website seeking to collect information about its visitors must ask for their permission first, but unfortunately the resulting impact of its full implementation could have a detrimental effect on many websites.

A very good guide on this subject has been published by wired.co.uk at http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-05/02/cookies-made-simple and, if you are a site owner, we recommend that you read it.

Other relevant links:
Information Commissioner’s Office's guide to the cookie law
 

 

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