An impending change to EU law will require businesses to request permission from visitors to their websites before they can store information about their identity, history and preferences, known as ‘cookies’.
This week, the UK’s data protection watchdog warned that businesses must "wake up" to the change, which technically comes into effect on 25 May 2011 (although it is not yet clear how it transfer into UK law).
One possible solution is to build a system for requesting permission into users’ web browsers, he suggested.
He added, though, that while there are many legitimate uses for cookies, the new law will give web users great control over how website operators monitor their behavior. "It will give people more choice and control over what information businesses and other organisations can store on and access from consumers’ own computers," he said.