What are cookies?
The site then ’knows’ that you have been there before, and in some cases, tailors what pops up on screen to take account of that fact.
Cookies are commonly used in:
- Analytical tracking – used to store information about where a user has come from. Analytics is virtually impossible without cookies.
- Affiliate programme tracking – to record what affiliate programme has resulted in a sale.
- In ecommerce – to record what items are added to a basket as part of the checkout process. Online shopping would be relatively impossible without cookies
What should you do to comply with the regulations?
The regulations are designed to give website users peace of mind when it comes to using the web and there is no reason to worry.
The regulation essentially says that the storage of cookies must now be done with the prior consent of the user, rather than offering a way to opt-out of cookies after the fact.
Excluded from this rule are uses of cookies that are ‘strictly necessary’ for a service requested by a user (e.g. session tracking cookies for logged in users and potentially cookies vital as part of the shopping process).
There are some issues with this legislation. If you were to follow the code to the letter, you would have to allow all visitors to “opt in” for Google Aalytics tracking. We imagine that this is not practical for most websites, as potential customers will be unlikely to select the “opt in” button. The regulators, however, have shown what this looks like on their own website: www.ico.gov.uk
There is an option to opt in on the top of the page, however most customers will be unlikely to allow cookie tracking without a good reason.
The regulation is rather complex, but there are simple things you should do on your website:
- You should provide visitors with information about how they can opt out of using cookies
Note, we are not legal experts at Digital Six so we recommend that if you are concerned about cookies you should contact a legal specialist.