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EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive and Cookie Compliance

Written by Brett Sidaway, May 10, 2012
 | EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive and Cookie Compliance image 2

EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive and Cookie Compliance

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Mayday – will your website be legal after the 26th?

For every business with a website, May 26th is going to be a significant day as from this date all websites will need to comply with the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications.   Very broadly, the Directive requires websites (any website, not just commercial or e-commerce sites) to gain consent to store or access information on a user’s computer – in other words a requirement to obtain consent for cookies and similar technologies.

Whether you are aware or not, it’s very likely that your site will use Cookies – especially if you use third-party code, plug-ins or extensions on your CMS-based website, e-commerce site or blog e.g. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or Magento. A common example of using cookies includes Google Analytics – although Google Analytics doesn’t collect personal data about your website visitors it does use cookies in order to report on your site visitors. Other common examples include social media widgets and modules such as Twitter feeds and Facebook plug-ins.

Cookie Compliance and what will you need to do

If you do use Cookies, from 26th May you will need to do the following:

  • Tell people that the cookies are there
  • Explain what the cookies are
  • Obtain their consent to store a cookie on their device

When and how:

  • In advance of the 26th May, you should run an audit of the Cookies your sites use and decide whether they fall under the Directive. If you don’t feel confident in doing this yourself, use a web design or internet marketing agency who specialise in applying standards compliant web design practices.
  • Amend your site coding so that it complies with the requirements of the Directive – informing users in advance of the type of information stored, gaining their consent and advising how they can withdraw consent.

Cookie Compliance solutions

Again, a specialist web design or internet marketing agency can provide advice on the best cookie compliance solutions available, but if you are confident enough to have a go yourself, here are a few cookie contol solutions you can try.

WordPress web design

  • WordPress Cookie LawThis a WordPress plugin implementation of the Cookie Control created by Civic UK, a mechanism for obtaining a user’s explicit consent for the use of cookies on their computer.

Joomla web design

  • Kookie Grab – This module helps the site owner to comply with current EU cookie regulations by creating a special View Level for visitors who agree to accept cookies.

Magento web design

  • Magento Cookie Control – This extension developed by Juno provides a mechanism for obtaining a user’s explicit consent for the use of cookies on their computer.

Static websites and other CMS web designs

  • Cookie Control by Civic UK provides an elegant user-interface that doesn’t hurt the look and feel of your site. It takes just minutes to configure and add Cookie Control to your website.

Don’t fail to act!

Although it is unlikely you will be hit with the max fine of £500,000 there are a series of enforcement measures which can lead to a fine if not met, so it’s sensible to act BEFORE. Even without the threat of action, any ethical business will want to meet the required legislation. As more and more websites comply, those who don’t will start to look outdated at best, and suspect at worst.   If you found this tutorial helpful then please click the Like or Tweet button below or leave a comment.

Image credit – Brian Richardson

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