New Website Cookie Law Is Now In Force

cookies and the lawAs of this month any public website should provide information about its use of cookies and give the option to disable them, not just a document stashed away somewhere, but on the homepage as the first thing a visitor sees! The cookie law was actually passed last year, but we were all given 12 months to sort ourselves out. Now that time is up, we’ll have to comply. In case you don’t know, cookies are small parcels of technical data that track our movements and browsing habits when we use the internet, or store items in a shopping cart for future purchase. Some websites use these cookies to offer us targeted products similar to those we have been looking at. I’m sure we have all wondered how that little window pops up and offers us a deal on the very same products we were looking at only a few days ago! This is done by using cookies for advertising. How does Amazon or eBay remind you what you ‘last viewed’? By using cookies of course. As with everything, the use of cookies has been abused by the unscrupulous advertising and tracking markets and forced the EU to act on it.

Cookies are awesome! Google Analytics uses cookies to track the route a visitor takes through a website, most social sharing networks use cookies and provide valuable information to site owners on what works on their website and what doesn’t. What to remove, what to add, what to update. All these things add to the visitor’s experience but now everyone should be given the option to turn cookies off. Why anyone would do that, I don’t know. There’s not much point in downgrading your ability to benefit from a particular website’s functionality. You may as well turn off JavaScript at the same time and have no navigation. Or get out the Yellow Pages instead of using Google. Dust off your Encyclopedia Britanica and stop using Wikipedia.

The new regulations have been put into place to show the public we have the option to disable these cookies if you want to. The ironic thing is this, we always need cookies to use the internet, so if the customer chooses to disable them, it sends another cookie to tell the site it doesn’t want to use them!

There are several different views on this new law – some believe that its nonsense, and others believe it’s a step in the right direction. Either way, it’s now the law, and there will be penalties for non-compliance. The regulations don’t apply to every website, but we suggest that you update your website now anyway, because if you make changes in the future, you may fall under the new law. In order to be compliant, your website needs to explain to your customer what cookies are and how to disable them if you want to. This involves an update to your front page and the addition of an external link. You can always contact oneweb if you want help in complying with this process.

Dave

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