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Legal change - You need to obtain user consent if you use cookies on your website

The law which applies to how we use cookies and similar technologies for storing information on a user •[99]s equipment such as their computer or mobile device changed on 26 May 2011. There has been a year's "grace" in the UK prior to the adoption of this new law, but as from this coming Monday, it's adopted. There's a European-wide directive, so complying in the UK should help you comply across Europe too, but the Information Commissioner's web site tells us that the UK is ahead of the game in implementing the directive, so it's going to be a little harder / bit more of a learning process in this country. There's an introduction FAQ and video on the ICO web site [here].

In summary, the law states:
Cookies or similar devices must not be used unless the subscriber or user of the relevant terminal equipment:
(a) is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of, or access to, that information; and
(b) has given his or her consent.

In updated guildelines published last month, the Information Commissioner's Office states "Implied consent is a valid form of consent and can be used in the context of compliance with the revised rules on cookies". It goes on to say that "Implied consent is a valid form of consent and can be used in the context of compliance with the revised rules on cookies." and warns that "You should not rely on the fact that users might have read a privacy policy that is perhaps hard to find or difficult to understand."

Over the last week or so, you'll have seen extra notices about cookies turning up on many sites - I've noticed places such as the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and HSBC in my personal browsing. It appears that the general pattern is to provide a very clear link on the front page (perhaps in the form of a first-visit-only popup) saying that if you go further you consent, and it points you to a link which describes the site's use of cookies.

Certain exemptions are offered:
The Regulations specify that service providers should not have to provide the information and obtain consent where that device is to be used:
(a) for the sole purpose of carrying out or facilitating the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network; or
(b) where such storage or access is strictly necessary to provide an information society service requested by the subscriber or user.

In defining an 'information society service' the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 refer to 'any service normally provided for remuneration, at a distance, by means of electronic equipment for the processing (including digital compression) and storage of data, and at the individual request of a recipient of a service'. unfortunately, anyone who provides a free forum is not doing it for remuneration, and so it appears to me that free forums such as our Great Western Coffee Shop have to comply although we wouldn't have to if we charge a fee for people to join or use the forum!

I'm in the process of updating our privacy policy on this site, which is [here] to make it more explicit with regards to cookies, and will be providing more obvious first time links to it. And I will be adding a statement to the effect that "if you do not agree to this use of cookies, please don't use our site". I'll also be adding a reminder that individual users can alter their cookie preferenced in most browsers if they wish. I am not a lawyer, and what I am doing is my best understanding of what is necessary. You should check with your legal advisor if you are in any doubt as to the new law and how it applies to you, as we cannot take any responsibility at Well House Consultants for errors or ommissions in this post, nor for any consequences that arise from those errors or ommissions.

The ICO site admits that complying with the new law may not be easy and involves considerable work for many site providers (I know I'm going to be on it for various sites for a day or two - thank goodness our sites are reasonably well structured) - and they state that they're going to take a softly approach to start with - advising, and then perhaps applying enforcement notices, and they don't see that they'll be using their powers to apply quite large fines to site operators who don't comply.

Franlky, what a hassle for small businesses especially. I can see many people having to do a very great deal of work to provide extra information about their web sites which will very rarely even be looked at. And yet the cost of that extra work will need to be passed on / back to the customer!
(written 2012-06-01, updated 2012-06-02)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
A213 - Web Application Deployment - Commercial and Legal Aspects
  [4283] Can a legitimate forum post become illegal a year later? - (2014-07-11)
  [4234] Change to Libel and Defamation laws from 1st January 2014 - (2013-12-31)
  [3747] An easy way to comply with the new cookie law if your site is well designed - (2012-06-02)
  [3746] Google Analytics and the new UK Cookie law - (2012-06-02)
  [3168] Web Sites - Subject to Advertising Standards from 1st March - check your sites - (2011-02-13)
  [3104] Catering in Syracuse, the Saigon Cafe, stolen images and Christmas - (2010-12-25)
  [3016] The legal considerations of your web presence - revisited - (2010-10-26)
  [2686] Freedom of Information - consideration for web site designers - (2010-03-20)
  [2592] Re-using our pictures - (2010-01-21)
  [2252] Leaping dog, Leaping horse, copyright of old masters - (2009-06-20)
  [2140] Beware - giving copyright away when you upload a picture - Dogs Trust - (2009-04-25)
  [1937] Getting hold of the wrong end of the stick - (2008-12-12)
  [1840] Validating Credit Card Numbers - (2008-10-14)
  [1747] Who is watching you? - (2008-08-10)
  [1506] Ongoing Image Copyright Issues, PHP and MySQL solutions - (2008-01-14)
  [1486] Does anyone understand Lithuanian? - (2007-12-27)
  [1485] Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26)
  [1431] Getting the community on line - some basics - (2007-11-13)
  [1054] UK legal requirements for your commercial web site - (2007-01-27)
  [994] Training on Cascading Style Sheets - (2006-12-17)
  [876] Making pages clearer - easy Disability Discrimination Act Compliance - (2006-09-23)
  [795] Remember a site's non-technical issues too - (2006-07-07)
  [759] Watch your Google profile - (2006-06-13)
  [746] Domain Listing Center and Domain Registry of America - (2006-06-06)
  [532] Copyright - how much can I legally copy? - (2005-12-17)
  [322] More maps - (2005-05-23)
  [320] Ordnance Survey - using a 'Get a map' - (2005-05-22)
  [288] Colour blindness for web developers - (2005-04-22)
  [259] Responding to spam - (2005-03-27)
  [142] Colour for access - (2004-12-06)

G902 - Well House Consultants - Web site techniques, utility and visibility
  [4239] Facebook marketing - early experiences - (2014-01-19)
  [4136] How do I post automatically from a PHP script to my Twitter account? - (2013-07-10)
  [4115] More or less back - what happened to our server the other day - (2013-06-14)
  [4076] Web site - fully back! - (2013-04-29)
  [4001] Helping search engines with appropriate 400 error codes - (2013-02-11)
  [3974] TV show appearance - how does it effect your web site? - (2013-01-13)
  [3896] An email marathon - (2012-10-15)
  [3776] Some traps it's so easy to fall into in designing your web site - (2012-06-23)
  [3744] Short Web Addresses for Melksham - (2012-05-30)
  [3734] QR codes with marketing logos embedded - (2012-05-16)
  [3623] Some TestWise examples - helping use Ruby code to check your web site operation - (2012-02-24)
  [3589] Promoting a single one of your domains on the search engines - (2012-01-22)
  [3563] How big is a web page these days? Does the size of your pages matter? - (2011-12-26)
  [3554] Learning more about our web site - and learning how to learn about yours - (2011-12-17)
  [3532] Sharing the user experience - designing a form with the customer in mind - (2011-11-29)
  [3491] Who is knocking at your web site door? Are you well set up to deal with allcomers? - (2011-10-21)
  [3426] Automed web site testing scripted in Ruby using watir-webdriver - (2011-09-09)
  [3367] Google +1 - what is it? - (2011-07-22)
  [3197] Finding and diverting image requests from rogue domains - (2011-03-08)
  [3149] Looking back at www.wellho.net - (2011-01-28)
  [3087] Making the most of critical emails - reading behind the scene - (2010-12-16)
  [3022] Retaining web site visitors - reducing the one page wonders - (2010-10-31)
  [2981] How to set up short and meaningfull alternative URLs - (2010-10-02)
  [2668] Is it worth it? - (2010-03-09)
  [2569] How to run a successful online poll / petition / survey / consultation - (2010-01-10)
  [2552] Web site traffic - real users, or just noise? - (2009-12-26)
  [2532] Analysing Google arrivals by country of origin - (2009-12-10)
  [2519] Status Page / breaks of service in early December - (2009-11-30)
  [2410] Removal of technical resources from this site - (2009-09-19)
  [2389] Writing with our customers words - (2009-09-01)
  [2341] Koulutus, Open Source tietokone kielillä - (2009-08-09)
  [2340] ldning, Open Source dator språk - (2009-08-09)
  [2339] Opplæring, Open Source datamaskinen språk - (2009-08-09)
  [2338] Uddannelse, Open Source computer sprog - (2009-08-09)
  [2337] Opleiding, Open Source computertalen - (2009-08-09)
  [2336] Formação, Open Source computador línguas - (2009-08-09)
  [2335] Ausbildung, die Open-Source-Sprachen - (2009-08-09)
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  [2333] Formación, de los lenguajes de código abierto - (2009-08-09)
  [2332] Formation, des langages Open Source - (2009-08-09)
  [2225] How important is a front page ranking on a search engine? - (2009-06-09)
  [2065] Static mirroring through HTTrack, wget and others - (2009-03-03)
  [2056] Web Site Loading - experiences and some solutions shared - (2009-02-26)
  [1982] Cooking bodies and URLs - (2009-01-08)
  [1970] Plagarism - who is copying my pages? - (2009-01-02)
  [1961] Making our things easier to find - (2008-12-26)
  [1955] How to avoid duplicating web page maintainance - (2008-12-20)
  [1888] Find the link - (2008-11-16)
  [1856] A few of my favourite things - (2008-10-26)
  [1833] Web Bloopers - good form design - avoiding pitfalls - (2008-10-11)
  [1797] I have been working hard but I do not expect you noticed - (2008-09-14)
  [1793] Which country does a search engine think you are located in? - (2008-09-11)
  [1756] Ever had One of THOSE mornings? - (2008-08-16)
  [1711] Rapid growth leads to server move - (2008-07-17)
  [1653] How do Google Ads work? - (2008-05-25)
  [1634] Kiss and Book - (2008-05-07)
  [1630] To provide external links, or not? - (2008-05-04)
  [1610] PHP course dot co, dot uk - (2008-04-13)
  [1554] Online hotel reservations - Melksham, Wiltshire (near Bath) - (2008-02-24)
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  [1534] Where in the world / country is my visitor from? - (2008-02-07)
  [1513] Perl, PHP or Python? No - Perl AND PHP AND Python! - (2008-01-20)
  [1505] Script to present commonly used images - PHP - (2008-01-13)
  [1494] A time to update pictures - (2008-01-03)
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  [1237] What proportion of our web traffic is robots? - (2007-06-19)
  [1212] What brought YOU to our web site? - (2007-06-01)
  [1207] Simple but effective use of mod_rewrite (Apache httpd) - (2007-05-27)
  [1198] From Web to Web 2 - (2007-05-21)
  [1186] Two new pages / sites - (2007-05-14)
  [1184] Finding resources - some pointers - (2007-05-13)
  [1177] Sorting out for a site map - (2007-05-05)
  [1104] Drawing dynamic graphs in PHP - (2007-03-09)
  [1055] Above the fold - (2007-01-28)
  [1029] Our search engine placement is dropping. - (2007-01-11)
  [1015] Search engine placement - long term strategy and success - (2006-12-30)
  [976] Santa at the station - (2006-12-09)
  [916] Driving customers away - (2006-11-07)
  [893] Visibility - (2006-10-14)
  [800] Effective web campaign? - (2006-07-12)
  [767] Finding the language preference of a web site visitor - (2006-06-18)
  [757] Horse and Python training - (2006-06-12)
  [732] Where is a web site visitor browsing from - (2006-05-24)
  [718] Protecting images from theft - (2006-05-12)
  [681] Mirroring a dynamic site - (2006-04-12)
  [658] Keeping the visitors happy and browsing - (2006-03-26)
  [649] Denial of Service ''attack'' - (2006-03-17)
  [533] Bigger Box Campaign - (2005-12-18)
  [528] Getting favicon to work - avoiding common pitfalls - (2005-12-14)
  [510] Dynamic Web presence - next generation web site - (2005-11-29)
  [492] New Navigation Aid - Launch of My Wellho - (2005-11-11)
  [414] Form Madness - (2005-08-14)
  [376] What brings people to my web site? - (2005-07-13)
  [369] CMS - the minefield of Choices - (2005-07-05)
  [348] Graveyard pages - (2005-06-15)
  [347] Frightening and from-friend viruses and spams - (2005-06-14)
  [314] What language is this written in? - (2005-05-17)
  [311] Growth pains - (2005-05-14)
  [284] The Iconish language - (2005-04-19)
  [278] Cover all the options - (2005-04-13)
  [276] An apology to Mr Boneparte - (2005-04-11)
  [274] Our most popular resources - (2005-04-10)
  [268] Information request forms, cleaning up spam - (2005-04-05)
  [261] Putting a form online - (2005-03-29)
  [222] Who are all these visitors? - (2005-02-20)
  [202] Searching for numbers - (2005-02-04)
  [197] Allow for peak traffic on your web site - (2005-02-01)
  [182] Your personal Google ranking - (2005-01-19)
  [179] The hunt for unique words - (2005-01-16)
  [173] Data Mining - (2005-01-09)
  [165] Implementing an effective site search engine - (2005-01-01)
  [117] A case of case - (2004-11-14)
  [109] URLs - a service and not a hurdle - (2004-11-04)
  [98] No more 'Error 404' pages. Something better. - (2004-10-24)
  [32] Web design platoon - (2004-08-29)
  [23] Skills and responsibilities - (2004-08-22)


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Google Analytics and the new UK Cookie law
Some other Articles
Removal of water safety equipment, and how to use a lifesaver ring
Not everyone has a computer - 9 more ways to learn about the Melksham Campus
Legal change - You need to obtain user consent if you use cookies on your website
Sunday - no longer a day of rest
Dysenni Valley, and nearby
Low carbon and other environmental lessons for the Melksham Campus?
Looking and Learning - even on Holiday
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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