Online service-providers are choking on their custard creams as a result of new legislation introducing a number of revisions to the UK’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles...
The revised Regulations, in force from 26 May 2011, make clear that in order to store a cookie on a user’s PC or mobile device marketers must obtain the informed, positive consent of their users. The use of “opt-outs” will no longer suffice.
No slam-dunk for browsers
Marketers are offered some crumbs of comfort, in that browser settings can in theory be used to indicate consent. However, the soggy residue at the bottom of the tea-cup is that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) deems current browser setting technology too inflexible to comply with the Directive. The Government is encouraging browser manufacturers to produce enhanced versions that can give consumers the necessary control over their personal privacy. But until such time as such new technological measures are wide-spread this is unlikely to provide a practical solution to the requirements of the Regulations.
1 You can read the ICO guidance on planning for compliance here.