EU Cookie Law Compliance


Is Your Website Compliant With The New EU Cookie Law?

On May the 26th 2012 the new EU Cookie law came into effect in the UK. Whilst it has actually been part of UK law since May 2011 the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) granted a 1 year grace period & stated that it would not enforce the law until May 26th 2012.

The grace period has now passed and any websites which operate in the UK, or wish to have any users in the UK should now make sure they are compliant.

What Are Cookies?

Cookies are small files which websites store on users computers. They are then used by those websites, or third -party services, to identify that user by their machine.

Cookies are classed as either sessions cookies or persistent cookies. The difference between the two is how long they are stored on the users machine. Sessions cookies are deleted once the user leaves the website issuing the cookie. Persistent cookies stay on the users machines for a set period of time regardless of whether the users leaves the website of not. They both have different uses which will be detailed later on this page.

There are various uses for cookies:

Website customization/personalization
Some websites allow the users to make changes to the way they look and operate. If that user then leaves the website, without the use of cookies those changes would be forgotten and the user would have to make them again. These are persistent cookies, allowing the website to identify the users machine on returning to the website.

Shopping Carts
E-commerce websites use  virtual shopping carts, or baskets, to store all the items you wish to purchase allowing you to purchase multiple items whilst only paying once, much the same as shopping in a real physical shop. The way these systems log each users basket contents & make sure it is not shared with other users makes use of cookies. Without cookies shopping online would be a lot more time consuming. These are session cookies as they are only used whilst the user is shopping on the website. Once they leave the website there is no need for these cookies anymore. Some e-commerce websites do use persistent cookies if they allow you to save your basket to purchase later. That way you can leave the website, then come back and not have to re-select all your items.

Website analytics systems are used to help the website owners/administrators better understand their users needs & to improve the website for it’s users. Cookies are used by analytics tools to identify a returning user to a website. These are persistent cookies, allowing the website to identify the users machine on returning to the website.

Targeted Advertising Systems make use of cookies in order to help them make better choices about which adverts to show to which users. These are persistent cookies, allowing the advertising system to identify the users machines across various websites which operate the system.

Social Media
Websites which integrate social media platforms make use of cookies to identify if the user is logged into the network. This allows users to quickly share things with the networks without needing to log in each time. These are persistent cookies, allowing the social network to identify the users across various websites which have social network integration.

Why The New Law?

The new EU Cookie law aims to make the use of cookies more transparent to users of websites. This information must include details about the cookies being stored on users computers and how websites & services use these cookies.

Gaining users consent to allow websites & services to store cookies on users machine & also make use of cookies is also addressed by this law.

No Single Solution

Every website is slightly different & makes use of cookies in different ways. There is no single solution to guarantee compliance with the new law

Certain solutions may be more complicated and cumbersome than are actually required. Having a solution which is more advanced than needed can lead to a worse experience for the users of the website.

We Can Help

Here at Greenlight Computers we have a detailed knowledge of the law and are able to help you make sure your site is compliant in the most appropriate way for you & your website users.

We offer the following services:

Cookie Audit
We assess your website to see which cookies are currently being used and how. With this information we  produce a detailed document outlining this information and make recommendations on what is necessary to make the site compliant.

Design & Development
Based on the cookie audit, if the recommendation requires changes to your website or new functionality to be put in place, we can design and develop tailored solutions to make sure your website is fully compliant.

If you would like to discuss anything regarding the new EU Cookie Law, our services or just some advice please contact us today.