What does this mean?
The new law is well intentioned, aimed at protecting privacy. For instance if you search Google for ‘holidays’ in the morning, you may well find that when visiting another website later in the day that there are banner adverts on there about holidays. This isn’t a coincidence. Google is using cookies to store information about what you’re interested in and then serving relevant adverts to you on other websites showing banner ads. Scary huh!?
So cookie use in advertising is one of the targets of this law, but most users would say that changing this so that you have to opt in to have this sort of information stored about you isn’t a bad thing, but for site owners who finance their websites through advertising this could destroy their business model.
The law does allow you to use “strictly necessary” cookies, for example those used to remember when you add an item to your shopping cart. Users want you to remember that information, so it’s not really a privacy issue. Other cookies use, such as remembering login, is also supposedly okay.
Also in order for someone to ‘like’ your article in Facebook, or indeed via any social media site, cookies are generally needed. So does this law scupper social networking too??!
So you see, whilst the intention of the law is well intentioned, the results of it’s wording are potentially far reaching for all Internet users.
What are people saying?
What should you do?
I’m no lawyer, so the only professional advice I can give at this time is indeed to consult your own legal people. If asked off-the-record I might recommend taking the same wait-and-see attitude of everyone else, in the hope that someone might see some sense!
If you do decide you want to make amends to your website in reaction to the law then get in touch to discuss the options for adding cookie approval functionality to your site (as there are ways to make it less intrusive if so desired).