ICO warns businesses over EU cookie law update

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).

"The Internet as we know it today depends on the widespread use of cookies," said information commissioner Christopher Graham in a statement. "The business community and public sector organisations need to start thinking clearly about how they will meet the requirements of the new directive."

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.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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