Are you ready for the new cookie directive coming into force in 6 days time?

Certainly I’m not!

Did you even know that from next Wednesday (25th of May 2011) it will be a legal requirement to get consent from your website visitors to use cookies? Heck, do you even know what cookies are? You wouldn’t be the only website owner that didn’t, yet chances are that the directive will apply to you and require you to take action.

got breakfast? [explored #148]
Creative Commons License photo credit: MahPadilha


I need your help to get me up to speed. When legal meets technical and throws in marketing considerations to boot, confusion is a certainty. From my research so far, this EU directive is definitely not breaking that rule! Even the ICO (the UK government department responsible for enforcing this) admits that there is lack of clarity.

I’ve done a bit of reading up so far (ICO guidelines, the optimistically titled DMA guidelines and some nice posts from Steak Media)

The word “rediculous” seems to be included in every conversation relating to the directive. This is highlighted perfectly by Dave Naylor’s parody.

Like it or not though, its coming. Being an EU directive we can expect the UK government to take it’s enforcement duties seriously, even if no other member state bothers.

The confusion has it’s upside, namely it creates an acceptance that website owners are not going to get it absolutely right. The ICO have made it clear that they will treat those who can demonstrate that they have made a concerted effort very differently to those who bury their head in the sand.

Better late than never

Over the coming few days in the run up to the directive coming into force, I’m going to be seeking to get to grips with it and come up with my own opinions as to what needs to be done. We will be developing and executing a plan for Attacat as well as helping our clients to get into shape and will be sharing our views.

I have a seed of a plan in my head for creating a common sense resource for all of us trying to comply with the directive. We even have a simple tool in the pipeline which we will make available free of charge. Hopefully this will help you develop your own plan as well as encouraging those with greater knowledge than us to critique our approach.

I hope it is a journey you will join me on (by subscribing to this blog and adding your comments). I’m not a lawyer, privacy campaigner or a developer so if you are I hope you will share your knowledge. If you are a website owner we’d love to hear what you are doing about the directive and for you to contribute your opinions. If you are from the ICO even better!

Help please

So how can you help at this point? I’d like to know:

  • What resources have you found that I should read?
  • What, if anything, are you doing about it?
  • What questions need answering/what are the grey areas?

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