There are now less than 40 days before new EU privacy rules designed to give internet users more control over what data websites collect about them come into force in the UK.
The change means websites will have to adjust the way they use ‘cookies’ - small text files that are stored on the user’s computer used for recognising and tracking visitors. From 26 May sites will have to ask visitors for consent to record user data.
This could mean a lot of work for site owners in the next few weeks. 95% of 55 major UK based organisations didn’t comply with the new rules at the end of last month according to a survey by accountancy firm KPMG.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) who is responsible for enforcing the EU directive in the UK says cookies that provide data to advertisers, count the number of unique visitors to a page or recognise when a user has returned to a site will all be covered by the new rules.
Knowthenet expert Jonathan Armstrong has this advice for businesses: “Site owners need to look at where they are using cookies and what those cookies are doing. They may want to stop using any unnecessary cookies, especially those sending data to third parties. Businesses also need to look at a way of telling site visitors what is happening to their data. Transparency should be the guiding principle of any business in its online activities.”
The ICO has published more detailed information about what the changes mean for site owners