Many of us will have read about changes in the way Cookies are dealt with in line with the EC Privacy and Electronics Communications Regulations (PECR) 2011. The regulations change the way data is captured and stored within Cookies and Locally Stored Objects.
We’ve tried to summarise these changes and give some best practices below.
The key change is that in the majority of instances websites must gain user consent to store Cookies. The ICO has given a number of implementation mechanisms. The ICO admit that Browser technology will probably play a key part in this and to date the W3 have produced their First Draft of a standard for Online Privacy (14th November 2011).
Where possible be guided by Browser settings thus if the user has set their browser to allow Cookies of Type A (less intrusive) but not of Type B you could assume the user has given consent for Cookies of Type A. This is not completely reliable however as many Mobile devices and Browsers do not fully support this type of distinction.
For Analytics Cookies which in my opinion are more of a “Grey” area, explain which Cookies are used. The ICO suggest perhaps a call to action when the Cookie is set to draw the users attention to any supporting information including a means informing the user of choices.
For Third Party Cookies (including those used for remarketing) and ad serving tools- show whenever and to whom information is sent, again this could be scrolling text or an icon again making clear to the user what is being stored and by whom.
Consider Settings or Future Led Consent – Your site may remember which stories a user has read, allow them to customise thus you could display a dialog explaining a Cookie is needed to enhance and store a users preferences obviously then refer the user to what data the Cookie is storing.
The advice above is given in good faith and does not guarantee compliance with the new legislation. Should you have any further queries we would advise contacting the ICO direct at www.ico.gov.uk.
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