New EU laws change cookie permissions, protects users

From May 25 European law, due to the e-Privacy directive, will force change in the UK meaning consent must be granted from websites before they store cookies on a users computer. The only exception to this rule will be cookies that are used on stores and for shopping baskets.

On the Web Store of the popular web browser, Chrome, there is already an extension to manage cookie permissions. Mozilla say they will use a different approach by utilising a Do-Not-Track HTTP header and Microsoft will use InPrivate Filtering protection against tracking with their IE9.

Although the plans were set out over 18 months ago, they are now coming into full force and business are trying to work out how to best seek a user's permission. The minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, said in a statement the law would "cause uncertainty for businesses and consumers", "...we do not expect the Information Commissioner's Office to take enforcement action in the short term against businesses and organisations as they work out how to address their use of cookies," he added.

Although the rules are still being worked out and may take another few months until they completed, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said "My message is that this is not your 'get out of jail free' card," talking specifically to businesses meaning they have some time to make the changes needed, but not forever.

Restrictions of this nature are bound to have a large impact on the way people use websites with an increase in login times, settings and possibly more pop-ups or nags requesting permission to store a cookie. All users should see the benefits, such as less cookie-based targeted advertising and more freedom over how their information is stored.

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