UK cookie crunch in 99% of public orgs

By Richi Jennings (@richi ). An audit of 603 public sector websites has shown that more than 99 percent will struggle to comply with a three-month-old privacy law. The survey, conducted (ahem) by a company who can help you come...


Richi Jennings By (@richi ).

An audit of 603 public sector websites has shown that more than 99 percent will struggle to comply with a three-month-old privacy law. The survey, conducted (ahem) by a company who can help you come into compliance (ahem) may make worrying reading for the councils, emergency services, and other public bodies whose sites the company tested.

  • On the one hand, it's probably a good thing that users are better informed about tracking cookies, especially 3rd-party cookies.
  • On The Other Hand, I'm not sure this EU Directive is the best way of going about it.

Plus, today's skateboarding duck: A modest proposal for improving the BBC...

Antony Savvas reports:
[P]ublic bodies face a stiff test to comply. ... An audit for Socitm of 603 public sector websites...has shown that all but six of them have cookies. ... Many...set by third party system suppliers and websites such as Twitter and Google.
The cookie legislation came into force this May after a European directive was adopted. ... All websites must allow visitors to be able to stop cookies...if they so wish. ... The government and UK information commissioner have said they will hold back...from taking action against those sites that do not comply...providing...they are taking action now to eventually meet the legislation. more.png

Gill Hitchcock adds:
[The law] requires website owners to provide users with an opportunity to consent to...cookies. ... One site had 1,346 cookies...while the average number of cookies on each site was 32.
Socitm pointed out that the law is clear that website owners must be aware of all cookies on their site. ... It recommended that...the site owner must choose from a range of options to obtain informed consent. more.png

Pinsent Masons raises a posse:
[W]ebsites can obtain consent through a number of methods, including asking users...through screen prompts. ...[O]btaining consent from websites' terms and conditions or users' preference settings were also deemed appropriate by the ICO.
[O]rganisations have quite a lot to do before...they can be in a position of compliance by May next year. ... The Government is working with Mozilla, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Adobe and the Internet Advertising Bureau to deliver an efficient technological solution. ... The European Commission...said it will take action if industry does not standardise opt outs [by June 2012].  more.png

And Amy Taylor foresees the horror:
The use of cookies is seen as a controversial method of gleaning information. ... However, cookies can also be very beneficial for users, as they can remember important information. ... [E]xperts are split as to whether the...Directive is the best way of dealing with the issues of internet privacy, safety and cookies, as...having to fill out multiple consent forms for every site...will disrupt a user's online experience.
According to the previous cookie law, webmasters had to tell their they could opt out; ... the new law requires that cookies can now only be [used] if the user...has given their consent.  more.png

But this Anonymous Coward complains bitterly:
A massive amount of time and money is being wasted on this utter ****. Meanwhile, services are being cut, children go without books and OAP's die in their homes through lack of heating.  more.png

Today's Skateboarding Duck...

Don't miss out on OTOH:

Richi Jennings Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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