Online Invent Blog

EU Laws and Website Cookies

Most of us are aware of the fact that practically all websites use cookies which in essence are mini data files that store information in web browsers. Certain websites contain a few while some contain hundreds of them. Nevertheless, due to the rampant abuse of cookies by some sites the EU came up with a piece of privacy legislation that was promptly dubbed as ‘The Cookie Law’ which required websites to obtain prior consent from visitors to the site if they wanted to store or retrieve any form of data on an electronic device which included smart-phones and tablets apart from computers.

Despite the fact that the law was seen as ‘impractical’ by most quarters, the intention of the law was however well placed as it was designed to protect the privacy of consumers by making them aware of how data related to them is collected, consolidated and subsequently used online. In essence the law gave consumers the choice to either allow their information to be stored or not.

The EU Directive which was eventually adopted by the entire EU contingent as of May 2011 in essence provided consumers the rights to refuse the use of cookies which inevitably reduces the level of their online privacy privileges. From there on, EU countries singularly updated their own domestic laws towards compliancy, for example in Britain, their Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations were updated accordingly.

The impact on businesses due to this new ‘cookie law’ meant various things, as web owners needed to make certain that their sites were compliant with the law that required them to make the necessary changes. Failing to which meant they risked enforcement action from appointed regulating agencies such as the ICO (Information Commissioners’ Office) in the UK.

Fines were imposed for exceptional cases while some operators were slapped with more serious consequences for non-compliance. Although there is plenty of evidence that show consumers in general avoid interacting with websites that they have reason to believe puts their privacy at risk, the use of cookies is generally unavoidable as most websites need to use cookies to a certain degree in order for the site to function normally.

The EUs decision to put forth this legislation was considered unnecessary by most as there were so many other ways to handle privacy issues which were totally disregarded by the commission that came up with the law. The impact of this law affected SMEs and small businesses more than it affected anybody else, as on the consumers side, things before and after the law was passed remained practically unchanged making the whole exercise a waste of time and resources for website owners.

Some surveys indicate that more than 80 % of digital marketers think that the ‘Cookie Law’ is detrimental to online sales which will have a drastic and negative impact on cross border economics. Nevertheless, the law has been passed and people on both sides of the legislation are required to adhere. Changes to this piece of legislation are unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Online Invent

Online Invent is a Web Design, Web Development and Digital Marketing Company, established in 2007 from Melbourne, Australia.

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Online Invent
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Niddrie , Victoria , 3042 Australia
+61 479 111 886
website designer, website developer, web design, web development, search engine optimisation, digital marketing
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