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Cookies (The Bad Internet Kind :/)

Posted on: May 27, 2011

Could the cookie crumble for websites?

Companies with websites and online businesses have been given 12 months to implement a new EU directive that means they will need to ask permission from users to track their history.

Websites use ‘cookies’ to store information that people might want to see again, like usernames that you do not want to retype every time you use a site or a history of your purchases on an online shopping store.

However, as part of a new EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive any websites using cookies will need to provide a way of asking the user if this is OK – meaning more pop-ups and banners interrupting their web experience.

Although, companies are being given a year to implement the change, the obvious effect – if not straight away – is that businesses will have to go to much greater lengths to update visitor data on a regular basis.

Matthew Robins from web-design forum Webreality said: “If a website becomes compliant and seeks to ensure that it complies with this law, it will have to change the way it interacts with its user. For example, if it is using a cookie which allows it to track the behaviour of that user on its website, it will have to ask permission from the user before it sets the cookie on that user’s computer. That will mean some form of interruption of the user experience so something on the screen asking the user to tick a box before they continue.”

In the web world it has prompted concerns that people might move away from European websites in favour of American ones simply to by-pass what could become a constant barrage of banners and pop ups asking for consent.

But web experts are warning against making any rash decisions.

Matthew explained: “Our advice to all of our clients it to take advantage of this 12 month grace period that the regulator has provided to make sure that you don’t disadvantage yourself by becoming compliant too early or by becoming compliant in a way which is not strictly necessary, because the one glimmer of hope in all of this is that the manufacturers of the web browsers, that’s the software we all use to browse the web will change the way that their settings work to make it possible to accept blanket cookies from websites.”

So for now, it seems companies might well be able to have their cookie and eat it too.

(Source: Channelonlinetv)

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1 Response to "Cookies (The Bad Internet Kind :/)"

Yummy! Cookies! I have a love hate relationship with cookies. The fact that they can track what you’re doing is a little stalker-ish but if I’m going to have to see ads I rather that they were targeted at me.

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