Ensuring your website is cookie compliant

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) recently announced new stricter guidance on the use of cookies on websites. The guidance stipulates that companies must change the way they gain consent from users for cookies placed on their website. It also stipulates that consent will now be needed for a wider range of cookies.

Don’t worry, we’ll explain all.

The current cookie law came into force in 2011, through amendments to the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations.

The law only allows a website to set a cookie on a user’s computer if they are:

Importantly, the law was amended at the end of March 2019 to make it clear this consent must meet the high standards of GDPR, particularly where the use of cookies results in the processing of personal data. The ICO’s new guidance imposes much stricter obligations to obtain consent, reflecting the fact that consent must meet with GDPR standards.

What does and doesn’t constitute consent?

The following practices will not provide valid consent:

Importantly, it’s vital that any consent is informed. This means that every business is responsible for providing clear information about what cookies are used and why.

In addition, in relation to the use third-party cookies, you have a responsibility to clearly and specifically name the third party and explain what they intend to do with any information they collect. 

What do you need to do to comply?

Our recommendation is for a clear cookie notification to be added to your website. The notification must make it clear to users that they have the option to decide what cookies are stored on their computer and give them the ability to turn them either on or off.

We’ve added the new functionality to our own website if you would like to see it in action: www.forepoint.co.uk

Good news for Forepoint clients

If we currently manage your website, then the process of complying with the new ICO guidance couldn’t be easier. Simply instruct us to update the cookie notifications on your website and we’ll ensure that the new functionality is added.

Contact: support@forepoint.co.uk

How will the changes affect my website?

A new cookie bar will appear on your website, either as a strip at the top or the bottom of all pages. The bar will disappear once the visitor has accepted or rejected the use of cookies. A link will also be added to your website’s cookie page to allow the visitor to update their preferences.

Will I still be able to get analytics?

As long as a visitor to your website gives consent to allow analytics tracking codes, you’ll still be able to track their website use. Unfortunately, if they don’t allow tracking cookies you won’t be able to continue tracking their use of your website. This will obviously be reflected in your analytics reporting, as a consequence you may see a dip in the number of visitors.

Want more information about cookie regulations?

If you want to read further guidance from the ICO regards use of cookies and similar technologies then please see their website.

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