EU’s Cookie Law still being chewed on – might end up requiring users to “opt-in” for browser cookies…

by Klaus on November 23, 2010

in Security, Tech News

A year ago we wrote about a new European Union cookie law which would require user consent before placing cookies on a computer. A month later we wrote how the cookie law crumbled as it wasn’t carried into effect yet because of issues with the original wording of the Act.

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.

Old Law
“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.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad dissertation November 25, 2010 at 10:12

Strange law…I don’t anderstand the purpose of it…

Paul Tech November 28, 2010 at 11:59

I don’t like cookies but I understand they have an important part to play in the retail and marketing sectors, gathering timely information about consumers’ needs and preferences can make a big difference to their profits.

Well, you can’t please everybody… but having 27 standards of cookie law is just too daunting.

Shane Ryans August 11, 2011 at 15:06

I understand what they are getting at but they are just going to slpw users down by making them opt in.

Jakk @ Technology Blogged August 11, 2011 at 16:38

The average consumer doesn’t know what a cookie is so will click no immediately. There needs to be more education before this happens and regulation is applied.


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