In this case, a cookie is a small harmless text file placed on a web users computer via the browser. They are used to store small pieces of information such as your preferences on various sites, like auto login, usernames, stuff like that. Basically, things that makes your web experience easier and more enjoyable. They can also be used to track your movements (sort of) in order to deliver more targeted ads – but as I’ve said before, I’d rather see relevant ads than ads that’s completely missing my interest.
So, now the cookie law has resurfaced. Long story short, countries in the EU can’t seem to agree on what exactly is going to happen and the worst case scenario is that we’ll be looking at 27 different standards as the law is carried out throughout the 27 member states of EU.
“is only allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned is provided with clear and comprehensive information…about the purposes of the processing, and is offered the right to refuse such processing”
Draft New Law
“is prohibited unless the subscriber or user concerned has given his/her prior consent, taking into account that browser settings constitute prior consent, and is provided with clear and comprehensive information”
New Law as Passed
“is only allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned has given his or her consent, having been provided with clear and comprehensive information”
Basically some people believe that it’s enough the browsers are giving users a way of opting out on cookies (like now), while some privacy advocates says the users will have to opt-in to receive cookies.
I suppose this could very well be a major hit on affiliate and advertisement businesses, as, for example, Amazon would have to ask users if they may place a cookie on the computer in order to pay commission to an affiliate, in case the user decides to buy something. I think most users would reject the cookie… If sites will earn less money on affiliate sales and advertising, they’d have to start charging users instead, and we wouldn’t want that, would we?
The Wall Street Journal has a big article on the subject which I suggest you go read if you have an interest in this awful European cookie law.