Cookie law set to come into force
Published: 26th May 2012 01:22:00
Thousands of UK websites are expected to be in breach of a law that dictates what they can log about visitors.
European laws that define what details sites can record in text files called cookies come into force on 26 May.
Cookies are widely used to customise what repeat visitors see on a site and by advertisers to track users online.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it would offer help to non-compliant sites rather than take legal action against them.
The regulations say websites must get "informed consent" from users before they record any detailed information in the cookies they store on visitors' computers.
Among websites that have complied with the law, getting consent has involved a pop-up box that explains the changes. Users are then asked to click to consent to having information recorded and told what will happen if they refuse.
UK firms have had 12 months to prepare for the change and the ICO has spent much of that time reminding businesses about their obligations.
The ICO has also updated its policy to allow organisations to use "implied consent" to comply. This means users do not have to make an explicit choice. Instead, their continued use of a site would be taken to mean they are happy for information to be gathered.
However, it was a "concern" for the ICO that so many sites were not yet compliant, said Dave Evans, group manager at the ICO who has led its work on cookies in the last 18 months. However, he added, it was not necessarily easy for companies to comply with the laws because of the amount of work it involved.
On busy sites, he said, an audit of current cookie practices could take time because of the sheer number of cookie files they regularly issue, monitor and update.
Mr Evans said the ICO was expecting sites that were not compliant to be able to demonstrate what work they had done in the last year to get ready.
Fines for non-compliance were unlikely to be levied, he said, because there was little risk that a non-compliant site would cause a serious breach of data protection laws that was likely to cause substantial damage and distress to a user.
It was planning to use formal undertakings or enforcement notices to make sites take action, he said.
"Those are setting out the steps we think they need to take in order to become compliant and when we expect them to be taking those steps," he said. "If they comply with one of those notices or sign one of those undertakings they are committing to doing this properly and that's the main point."
As well as advising firms, the ICO has also issued guidance to the public that explains what cookies are, how to change cookie settings and how to complain if they are worried about a site's policy.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Cookie law set to come into force [Online] (Updated 26th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1431038/Cookie-law-set-to-come-into-force [Accessed 24th Jul 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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