New guidance on cookies: not chocolate chip but the digital kind…

What are cookies?

Cookies are text files which typically contain two pieces of information: a site name and unique user ID.

How do they work?

When you visit a site that uses cookies for the first time, a cookie is downloaded onto your computer. The next time you visit that site, your computer checks to see if it has a cookie that is relevant (i.e. one containing the site name) and sends the information contained in that cookie back to the site. The site then ’knows’ that you have been there before, and may tailor what pops up on screen as a result.

What is the latest guidance on the use of cookies in the UK?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) released new guidance on 3 July 2019 on the use of cookies in the UK (based on the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR)). Key points to note:

·       Implied consent is no longer permitted – the user must take a clear and positive action to give their consent to non-essential cookies – continuing to use your web site does not constitute valid consent;

·       You must clearly inform users about what your cookies are and what they do before they consent to them being used;

·       If you use any third party cookies, you must clearly and specifically name who the third parties are and explain what they will do with the information;

·       You cannot use any pre-ticked boxes for non-essential cookies;

·       You must provide users with controls over any non-essential cookies and still allow users to access your web site if they don’t consent to these cookies; and

·       You must ensure that any non-essential cookies are not placed on your landing page until the user has given their consent.

Posted on 6 November, 2019 by Ortolan

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