UK Cookies Regulations: Today’s The Day

Officially, 26th May 2012 is the day that the UK regulators will be enforcing their 2011 update to the PECR, which requires companies to take opt-in consent for tracking information (including cookies) on websites. The regulations were actually updated one year ago, but the regulators gave businesses 12 months to get their house in order before they started enforcing it.

That’s the theory, at least. In practice, it seems that very little has been done by companies. Whilst most have been carrying out cookie audits and updating their privacy policy, very few have been taking opt-in consent. Many have decided to use the ‘implied consent’ route. What that means, is that by using a website with a clear privacy policy, a user has given their consent implicitly. That’s certainly not what the regulations say, but given that some of the governments own sites have gone this route, it will be interesting to see there is any enforcement by the ICO.

That’s on desktop, but what about mobile? It seems as if most companies have forgotten about this. One fine example of an opt-in window on desktop (I won’t mention any names), was not replicated on mobile. There isn’t even a privacy policy. Yet, the regulations are both device and technology agnostic. In other words, it doesn’t matter how you track (cookies, or in-app) or what’s accessing it (PC, phone or tablet), the regulations are the same.

Clearly, there are long-term issues; business are finding it hard to implement the regulations. When it comes down to it, those that make some effort with cookies are unlikely to fall fowl of the regulators. Those that completely flout it, may not fare so well – the ICO is already contacting some companies about their cookies.

I have written a white paper on the subject of mobile and cookies of the DMA which you can find here:

There’s some good general guidance here:

And a some further useful advice from econsultancy here:

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