• James

    On the contrary, I think this law will be very easy to ignore for web developers. No-one’s going to enforce it, unless there’s a specific complaint.  If there is a specific complaint, well shit, you need to come up with a plan to behave better.

    Most of the worst offenders will be non-EU based companies, who can ignore this legislation.  Those who do, and get nailed down on it can pull features for EU customers, which will probably kick in some counter non-discriminatory legislation, which will then negate this cookies ruling.

    As far as I can see, the worst hit will be EU-based tracking, analytics and marketing companies, who’ll have to give up and leave the internet to the rest of the world.

    • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.emberton Oliver Emberton

      One thing that will have to be tested in court: who is liable for using analytics – the analytics companies or the website owner? I would assume the latter (and almost guarantee that the analytics companies have watertight T&Cs that put all liability on us).

      So they might just carry on and see how long it takes for their customers to get sued, if at all.

      • James

        It’d be interesting to know if anyone ever got sued over the disability discrimination rules that came around a few years back. Certainly nothing that I’m aware of.

        Although the plus side is that the spectre of legislation worked to change peoples’ opinions on accessibility, maybe this will work in the same way for privacy!

        • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.emberton Oliver Emberton

          Regarding the DDA:

          “The RNIB has approached two large companies with regard to their websites. When they raised the accessibility issues of the websites under the DDA, both companies made the necessary changes, rather than facing the prospect of legal action (in exchange for anonymity).

          The DRC launched a formal investigation into 1000 websites, of which over 80% were next to impossible for disabled people to use. They issued a stern warning that organisations will face legal action under the DDA and the threat of unlimited compensation payments if they fail to make websites accessible for people with disabilities.”

          They raised a “stern warning”. Scary, huh?

      • http://www.facebook.com/AlanCarlBrown Alan Carl Brown

        The liability for using a thing should be with the one using it.  Toyota can’t accept responsibility for what I do with my car and lemon meringue pie makers aren’t responsible for Bill Gates’ cleaning bill.

        • Dave Bell

          But you can’t use that car on a public highway without a driving licence, and it has to meet a whole set of government design standards. We’re made very aware that we’re responsible. It stretches the comparison, but who is responsible for what the cookie does if the site user isn’t told about it?

    • Mark

      An EU law not being enforced in the UK? Wishful thinking there I reckon.

      There is no doubt that the worst offenders will be (and I am certain ARE) outside the EU, which just makes the law all the more unfortunate.

      That most people agree that it’s totally daft and not going to achieve a thing (and I’m speaking as someone who does prefer for people to be informed and in control of their information), the fact that we’re getting the law regardless tells you how likely it is to be enforced.

      “We must comply”.

  • http://twitter.com/Sanfire_IA Andy Cowin

    I agree with you, James. However, I can see this being a great money spinner for unscrupulous developers. Will this be another moment for web users to rise up, declare ‘I’m Sparticus!’ as 70,000 tweeters did over the super injunction gag and openly flout the law?

    One thing’s for sure, I’m going to be watching government and EU websites to see if they bother to implement yet another ill-conceived piece of internet legislation.

    • David Ball

      I think there will be many companies who are going to try and profit from this, and charge their clients for implementing a ‘solution’ that will reduce the user experience of their website.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.emberton Oliver Emberton

    I noticed the ICO’s own website uses 5 cookies, all of which appear to exist to track users! Google Analytics accounts for 4 of them.

    Still, they’ve got another 2 days to fix that, I’m sure they will…

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  • http://beneaththewig.com/ Milly Bancroft

    Oh my goodness, this is a world of factual wrong! I wrote about it here: http://beneaththewig.com/cookies-not-oats-and-raisin
    There is nothing to panic about!

    • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.emberton Oliver Emberton

      Thanks for the link. The way we read it, the DMCS and ICO don’t quite agree on the issue, which isn’t helping anyone understand it any better. 

      We’ve added a link to your article at the bottom of our own.

  • anon

    Why don’t you just move out of that corporate martial-law like state?

    • Anonymous

      because only puny elf men run away from their problems

      • Guest

        On the internet you can run away from your problems without running away from your customers.

        Add to that, the fact that the internet is a major part of a significant number of businesses, and you may hear a giant sucking sound as businesses leave the EU.

        Assuming this law becomes a real problem…

        The EU needs to attract business not scare it off.  Well, just one less continent the rest of the world has to compete against.

  • http://twitter.com/Lirodon Lirodon

    God, I’m glad I’m not the only person who thinks that this is yet another unenforcable technology law.

  • Remi Grumeau

    is using HTML5 localStorage is banned too?

    • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.emberton Oliver Emberton

      Yes. All equivalent technologies.

      Of course in practice it’ll be far harder for people to notice that, but don’t say I mentioned it…

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  • http://twitter.com/Dave_Child Dave Child

    You said: “A more intrusive example might be that your favourite shopping website could set a cookie to track which websites you’re visiting to find out your hobbies and interests.”.

    How? Cookies are restricted to a single domain and have no inherent ability to track anything. Even Google Analytics uses first-party cookies and so cannot use its cookies to track you across multiple sites. Banning third-party cookies (or subjecting only third-party cookies to this law) would have the desired effect of preventing tracking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.emberton Oliver Emberton

      Whilst I entirely agree with you, I believe the ‘spirit’ of the law is that people don’t *know* they’re having information about them stored, and they’re concerned that this information could violate their privacy somehow (e.g. we know you looked at our naughty DVDs, or what referring sites you come from). It’s pretty hard to think of a first-party example worth worrying about though. 

      Clueless politicians – who would have thought it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1059333409 Mark Entingh

    This law is a joke (even though I’m in the USA). First of all, a cookie could simply track one variable, a session ID, then store all the tracking data ON THE SERVER. What a bunch of retards, these politics are.

    • Dave Bell

      In which case the Data Protection Act, and other countriy’s laws implementing that Directive, would likely apply. Still not a problem for you in the USA, but I rather think this “cookie” business is partly to plug a hole in the Data Protection area.

      • Simoncox

        It’s a problem for a US company operating in the EU or possibly even targetting EU users – so when you switch tot he Apple Store for the UK for example…

  • http://rambleon.usebox.net/ Juanjo

    It’s a directive, not a law directly applicable:

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Directive_%28European_Union%29

    • http://www.facebook.com/oliver.emberton Oliver Emberton

      The Directive was issued in 2009, the member states had until May 25th 2011 to implement their own laws.  

  • Anonymous

    I guess its time to start banning all UK users from websites.

    • David Ball

      That’s one of my serious concerns. I just hope big websites don’t share this same view and start blocking content from people in the EU – That would be horrible!

  • Facebook User

    People have cheered on the EU as it legislated on browser choice or MP3 playback choice, when most people have no clue what these things are, let alone a cookie. Did anyone expect the EU to become *less* intrusive in the technical minutiae of what people do on their computer? They may as well legislate on the varieties of microflora in allowed in the human gut.

  • Bob

    My question is how quickly can we fire the people at ICO?

  • http://twitter.com/Tom Tom

    Doesn’t this screw over people who use ads? I mean, pretty much any ad provider’s gonna set cookies.

    • http://denny.me Denny

      That’s basically the whole point of the law, yes.

  • Κωνσταντίνος Σέρβης

    I am always impressed how any law that protects the individual from
    group entities never fails to ignite hysteric spasms of fearmongering
    from the usual crowd (mostly the usual English EU hater crowd also known
    in the UK as “eurosceptics” who have a very simple algorithm really.
    They will take any input from the UK slightly and “innocently” pervert
    it to sound absurd or extremely restrictive and then will publish their
    theories somewhere with a grandiose heading. They are so predictable,
    that we would say their lot’s variance is 0 and can be substituted by a
    single symbol, zero is suitable given the quality of information they
    emit :-) ) “most websites will be illegal” is just utter nonsense as the
    link, “accidentally” linked to another document when the actual
    document is here:
    http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/library/Privacy_and_electronic/Practical_application/advice_on_the_new_cookies_regulations.pdf)
    clearly states that you are not allowed to track people on the net
    (very reasonable) but if you want to use cookies to preserve state
    across requests, because this is an essential part of providing the
    service to the user that they have requested, that is fine. For all
    other uses, you need to advise the user. In my opinion this law is long
    overdue, and whoever by default does sensible use of cookies (including
    sensible expiry settings) have nothing to worry about. In particular I
    am glad the Flash cookies are going to be better regulated, given the
    fact that Adobe has a virtual monopoly on this and that you are not
    allowed, on your own browser, to set “clear all cookies on exit” by
    default, a fact that I find outrageous. 

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  • Scott Herbert

    Don’t know if it’s any use to people but I’ve written a small JS script to enforce the user to accept cookies.

    See http://code.google.com/p/cookie-warning/

    If there are any CSS wizards out there it could do with some work, but it’s a start at lease.

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  • Wolf Software

    Wolf Software have a number of solutions with regards to cookie consent, including GA specific solutions etc.

    We have put together a single page of links and demos hope this helps.

    • http://twitter.com/nocookielaw nocookielaw

      Can we have a link to your solutions?

  • tangoReee

    She is so cute, give her a cookie!
    Anon-How.tk 

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  • Trokara

    all these months later – another comment – brilliant law! let’s have more like them. Maybe businesses will note they can do REAL work instead of vacuuming people’s details to milk them for money they haven’t worked for.

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  • GrzegorzDufajn

    You can download a script from here: http://sbx.sk/A6IE

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  • Don Sha

    What a waste of a law, time and money…

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