Greater clarity from the ICO regarding cookie law.

An 11th hour update makes implied consent an acceptable option but only after users have a reasonable understanding of what they are consenting to.

Our earlier post regarding the new cookie law referred to ‘required consent’ as being at the core of the new regulations that came into force on 26th May.

Several big players on the web appear to have forced the ICOs hand so that they expand on the area of implied consent in the new guidance document published last Thursday. The BBC for one, now has a notice on its home page informing users that cookies are used on the site and that by continuing to browse you are accepting that cookies are going to be placed.

Cookie Law implied consent message on BBC website

This assumption of implied consent is the main change referred to by the ICO.

For implied consent to work there has to be some action taken by the consenting individual from which their consent can be inferred. This might for example be visiting a website, moving from one page to another or clicking on a particular button. The key point, however, is that when taking this action the individual has to have a reasonable understanding that by doing so they are agreeing to cookies being set.

In conclusion, we are taking a position that doing nothing is not an option. i.e. you can’t expect your user to have a reasonable understanding about what they are consenting to without an explanation before they consent. The solution is to provide the user with the information they need without spoiling their experience.

We’d be happy to discuss the requirements for your site and can provide a free cookie audit which will explain what you need to do to comply. Simply contact james@tjs.co.uk or contact us using the form.

Maybe this isn’t the correct forum, but we have to say it’s a little dis-heartening to hear that the UK, famous for its stiff upper lip and its ability to stand patiently in queues is making an effort to comply with the law, where our e-commerce competitors on the continent are taking a more laissez faire approach to the changes. Then again, they probably have more urgent items on their agenda like an impending economic Armageddon. Oh well, keep calm and carry on.

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