Irony, the European Commission and the EU Cookie Law

And that’s the way the Cookie Crumbles

It's a no brainer - the EU Cookie Law

One of the most controversial internet privacy laws is still fuelling debate – the EU Cookie Law. Just 16 hours ago, Econsultancy broke news that the European Commission is suing five EU countries for not enforcing the EU Cookie Law (which should have bee implemented by May 2011). Countries that have still not implemented the Cookie Law include Belgium, Holland, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia. As such, the EU Commission has threatened to impose large daily fines until something is done about it. So far, the only countries that have fully complied include: the UK, Denmark and Estonia.

Disregarding personal opinions, fines are all very well. It’s now about doing what’s required in order to safeguard your business. But what about the fact that the EU is ignoring its own rules? Is that really fair?

The European Commission’s own websites

On almost any European Union institution website you will be hard pressed to find any notification/ up-front information that asks the visitor for permission to use cookies. And it’s not as if their websites don’t use cookies, because they do.

Take a look at Europa, the EU’s official website. No cookie alerts, no cookie setting requests, and definitely no upfront cookie information, not even in tiny writing in the footer. Information about cookies has been placed in their ‘Legal Notice’ section. And it’s just that – information. As StewartRoom suggests, ‘this doesn’t half look like the old-fashioned “opt-out” approach. There’s no way this would satisfy the new consent rule!’

Stewart’s taken a good look at the EU’s various sites and has found the same ‘opt-out’ approach on each of them.

Take a look at the list. It’s not just surprising, it’s ironic:

So much for enforcing their very own internet privacy laws. If the EU Commission were hoping debate would die down as more countries began to enforce the EU Cookie Law, they were wrong. Before you can preach how to live the good life, you’ve got to make sure you’re living it first.

How long until the Cookie crumbles? I think a good few of us are waiting to find out.

You and the EU Cookie Law

Regardless, if you’re worried about complying (given what’s happening in Europe), take a look at the ICO’s Cookies Guidance PDF. It’s pretty comprehensive and you can find it on their website. The link is below their video on Cookie FAQs.

If you’d like a little more direct help, get in touch with us. We’ll explain what we do and what you can do in order to comply.

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