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ICO issues new cookie guidance…is your website compliant?

Posted on 04 July 2019

ICO issues new cookie guidance…is your website compliant?

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has just published updated guidance on cookies and similar technology. It is essential reading for anyone running a website or app using such technology, whether for analytics or for advertising (which is very close to 100% of organisations). The ICO guidance is timely (maybe ironically so, given that we flagged up recently that its own website hadn't been compliant!) Although cookie law can look rather complicated, it boils down to this: for "essential" cookies (i.e. the ones that in technical terms your website needs to be able to run) you don't need users' consent, but for all others (and that includes analytics and advertising cookies) you do need consent. And consent requires an active opt-in, so no single buttons just saying "Accept" (you should offer a "Decline" button as well).

This is a rapidly developing area of law, with further changes on the (perhaps somewhat distant) horizon when the proposed EU ePrivacy Regulation is finally signed off. Getting these things wrong can, unfortunately, result in regulatory, legal and reputational risk, but an effective website is vital for a modern business. Please get in touch if you need advice about configuring your website in the optimum way for both compliance and commerce, or if you need help to deal with any complaints in relation to your use of cookies.

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