The EU cookie directive must surely crumble

A forum post has popped up on the Federation of Small Businesses forums about the EU cookie directive.  With the hype surrounding it starting to grow as the deadline for adherence to the directive arrives on the 26th May, it’s clear that businesses really do only have a couple of options.  Stick their heads in the sand or spend money implementing changes to their website that will render any customer tracking software, such as Google analytics, useless.

As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, the UK government have not yet taken steps to make their websites compliant with this new legislation.  All the while the ICO has still not issued clear guidance on how they intend to coerce businesses in to adhering to the new cookie rules.  All we know for now is that from Saturday they have the power to impose a 500,000 GBP fine on any business that does not comply with the directive.  Pretty scary stuff.

At first I have to admit I panicked about this new legislation.  I contacted my colleagues on various committees in an attempt to get them on board.  I couldn’t understand why nobody was protesting online about this latest piece of EU garb.  After a time it dawned on me that this legislation is in fact so absurd, that it’s just not going to stick.  There’s no way the ICO are going to pursue thousands of small businesses with their legal team.  Even the wording in the directive isn’t clear, which means that until the ICO sets a precedent by taking somebody to court, it’s not clear how far businesses need to go when they adapt their websites.

So unlike me, you shouldn’t panic.  I’m inclined to believe that this is one of those few occasions where for now you can ignore a change in the law.  If you are risk averse – just make sure your site isn’t doing anything that could be considered foul play by your visitors.  Check your privacy policy is up to date, and keep an eye on the news.

Read More