Vaizey: UK not ready for cookie control laws

The Information Commissioner’s Office has warned firms to sort out their cookies ahead of new EU data laws, with the Government already expecting to miss the deadline.

Vaizey: UK not ready for cookie control laws

From 25 May, a change to the EU’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive means UK sites must ask before storing data on a user’s computer or reading information from it, such as to track users around the web with cookies.

“While the roll out of this new law will be a challenge, it will have positive benefits as it will give people more choice and control over what information businesses and other organisations can store on and access from consumers’ own computers,” said Information Commissioner Christopher Graham.

We recognise that work will not be complete by the implementation deadline

However, the ICO is yet to offer any advice on how firms can best meet the directive.

“We are proactively working with the government, businesses and the public sector to find a workable solution,” said Graham.

“We recognise that the internet as we know it today depends on the widespread use of cookies and there are of course legitimate business reasons for using them,” he said. “So we are clear that these changes must not have a detrimental impact on consumers nor cause an unnecessary burden on UK businesses.”

He said one option under consideration is to allow consent to be given via browser settings.

No fines from ICO

Because of the “uncertainty” around the area, the ICO won’t be issuing fines immediately from the end of May.

“We recognise that work will not be complete by the implementation deadline,” said Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. “The Government is clear that it will take time for meaningful solutions to be developed, evaluated and rolled out.”

“Therefore we do not expect the ICO to take enforcement action in the short term against businesses and organisations as they work out how to address their use of cookies,” he said.

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