09/08/2012

NEW EU COOKIE LAW TAKES FORCE – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

On 26 May 2012 the European Directive 2009/136/EC, regarding ePrivacy and the use of cookies on websites, entered into force.

The use of cookies maybe essential for your website to work properly.

This new EU law means that all websites aimed at the EU market including the UK will need to ask visitors for consent before placing certain types of “cookies” onto their computer. This will have a major impact on many of our customers, so we’ve prepared this email to advise you on what can be done to make sure your website is compliant.

What are cookies, and will my website use them?

Cookies are text files that websites place on visitors’ computers to store a range of information, usually specific to that visitor – or rather the device they are using to view the site – like the browser or mobile phone. They were created to overcome a limitation in web technology. Web pages are ‘stateless’ – which means that they have no memory, and cannot easily pass information between each other. So cookies provide a kind of memory for web pages.

For example, Cookies allow you to login on one page, then move around to other pages and stay logged in, they allow you to set preferences for the display of a page, and for these to be remembered the next time you return, they can also watch the pages you visit, which allows the website owner to see how many visits etc they have had.

Unless your website uses simple html web pages, the chances are you use cookies in some way or another, and every page you visit writes cookies to your computer and receives information back from it. We estimate over 70% of websites written in the last 24 months will be using cookies.

What is the EU Cookie Law?

In May 2011 a European Union law was passed stating that websites that leave non-essential cookies on visitors’ devices have to alert the visitor and get acceptance from them. This law applies to both individuals and businesses based in the EU regardless of the nationality of their website’s visitors or the location of their web host. It is not enough to simply update your website’s terms and conditions or privacy policy.

The deadline to comply with the new EU cookie law was 26th May 2012. Failure to do so means you can be fined up to £500,000.

What should I do?

If you know you have cookies in use on your website you should put up a notice for each visitor, this can be fairly non obtrusive but must ask them to accept. If you are not able to do this yourself you should ask us to do this work for you. Typically this work will cost between £60 and £120 depending on the complexity of your website. Here is a website with an example of how it will look – http://www.unlimitedaudio.co.uk/

If you don’t know if your website uses cookies we are offering a service to check your website for cookies and compliance. This service costs £18.50+vat – please reply to request this action be done on your behalf and we will return to you a report within 48 working hours giving you all the relevant information you need.

What if I do nothing?

Obviously we are only recommending and advising best practice. This is very new law, we don’t know if and how likely it is that your website will be found breaking this law, all we do know is that it is a REAL LAW and not a scam. It is your choice if you want to be compliant, it is not our responsibility to enforce any laws and ultimately it will be the website owner whom is responsible for any fines should they arise.

We do not agree with this law because we feel it is a ‘sledgehammer to crack a walnut’ type of approach but unfortunately for all concerned we do not write the law and therefore our opinion is not important. We hope you found this email informative and look forward to your reply on how you would like to use this information. If you have any queries or question please do not hesitate to email by return and we will attempt to answer them by return.

Download GetOnIT Support (Windows)

Please click the button below to download our support software, following this please follow the instructions to install.

Download Support