ICO publishes cookie law advice for UK website owners

The Information Commissioner's Office has published advice on how UK businesses and organisations can comply with a new EU law on the use of "cookies" to track website visitors.

The Information Commissioner's Office has published advice on how UK businesses and organisations can comply with a new EU law on the use of "cookies" to track website visitors.

The regulation on the use of cookies - which comes into force on 26 May 2011 - derives from an amendment to the EU's Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive.

The law will oblige UK organisations running websites in the UK to get informed consent from website visitors to store and retrieve information on their computers.

The advice is aimed at helping organisations consider the practical steps they will need to take - and systems they will have to implement - to comply with the cookies law.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) says its advice will be supplemented by additional content as innovative ways to acquire users' consent are developed.

According to Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, the privacy policy advice should help businesses and organisations comply with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive legislation in a way that causes minimal disruption.

"The implementation of this new legislation is challenging and involves significant technological considerations. That's why we've already consulted a wide range of stakeholders," he says.

The ICO says it wants to spread the net as wide as possible and will welcome contributions from anyone who has practical examples to share.

"We'd urge all UK businesses and organisations to read our advice and start working out how they will meet the requirements of this new law," said Chris Graham.

The cookies law comprises part of amendments to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which also grants other powers to the ICO. These include the ICO's power to fine organisations up to £500,000 for making unwanted marketing phone calls.

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