UK enforces EU opt-in cookie law

From 25 May organisations running websites will need the user's permission before a cookie can be used, which will align UK law with EU regulations covering electronic communications.

From 25 May organisations running websites will need the user's permission before a cookie can be used, which will align UK law with EU regulations covering electronic communications.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: "The changes to the EU Electronic Communications Framework bring our regulatory framework up to date. They will help ensure there is a level playing field across Europe."

The government said it recognised the internet would be severely restricted without cookies and concerns were raised during the consultation that changes to the use of cookies could have a serious affect on the web.

To address these concerns the government plans to work with browser manufacturers to see if browser settings can be enhanced to meet the requirements of the revised directive.

Enhanced settings would present users with easily understandable choices on importing cookies on to their machine.

The government is also supporting cross-industry work on third-party cookies in behavioural advertising. Adverts would have an easily recognisable icon so users could access more information, as well as an option to refuse those and other cookies.

Vaizey said: "We recognise that work on the technical solutions for cookie use will not be complete by the implementation deadline. It will take time for meaningful solutions to be developed, evaluated and rolled out. Therefore we do not expect the ICO to take enforcement action in the short term against businesses and organisations as they work out how to address their use of cookies."

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