In May 2011, new laws came into force governing the use of cookies and similar technical measures (such as gif files, local shared objects, and Javascript) for tracking users of websites and mobile apps.

The new laws are aimed at ensuring that users give their informed consent to the use of cookies, and that they are provided with clear and comprehensive information.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office has given organisations a year’s grace before it will start enforcing the new laws. That grace period expires at the end of May 2012, which means that it is vital that organisations can show that they are taking active steps towards complying with the new laws.

This page provides a one stop shop for guidance on the new law, and we will update it as further guidance is issued.

For information on the cookies used on this Blog, please follow this link.

Brodies TechBlog guide to complying with the new Regulations
To help organisations tackle compliance with the new laws, we have put together a short guide explaining what is required and how to go about assessing the changes that you will need to make to your website.

You can read the guide by following this link (PDF).

Techblog articles on the new cookies law
We have published a number of blogs on the new laws, guidance that has been issued by the ICO, and some specific problem issues such as cookies used for targeted/behavioural advertising.

Follow this link to see an up to date list of those blogs, or follow these links to read some of the most popular blog posts:

Guidance from the ICO and other organisations
The following links provide useful information:

  • Regulatory guidance (PDF) – The ICO has provided guidance on compliance with the new regulations, including examples of different ways that consent to the use of cookies could be obtained. The guidance explains which cookies are viewed by the ICO as “essential” (and therefore exempt from the new laws) (Updated 25 May 2012)
  • International Chamber of Commerce guidance (PDF) – The ICC has prepared guidelines on good practice – including example consent wording and mechanisms for different types of cookies. The ICO has endorsed the guide as providing “useful information on how organisations can achieve [consent]” to the use of cookies
  • Public sector website guidance (PDF) – The Government Digital Service (GDS) (the central government body tasked with promoting digital government) has prepared guidance for central government and public sector websites. The GDS guidance appears to be at odds with the guidance issued by the ICO (in particular, in relation to website analytics cookies), and to date has not been endorsed by the ICO
  • Information about cookies – All About Cookies provides an overview of what cookies are and how they work

More information
If you would like to assistance in assessing your organisation’s use of cookies, the steps that are required to comply with the new laws, or you have any other questions on the new laws, then please contact Martin Sloan or Grant Campbell.

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