COOKIE MONSTER
May 8 2012.


The European Directive on which the Regulations that cover direct marketing by electronic means has been revised. New rules for websites using cookies and similar technologies come into effect on 26 May 2012.

Many of the Regulations are staying the same however there are some important changes which include;

• new rules for websites using cookies and similar technologies;

• the introduction of new powers for the Information Commissioner to serve a monetary penalty on an organisation when very serious breaches of the Regulations occur

• the introduction of new powers for the Information Commissioner to investigate breaches of the Regulations by obtaining information from certain third party organisations.


A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers downloaded on to a device when the user accesses certain websites. Cookies allow a website to recognise a user's machine and might be used to remember a website visitor's preferences, to record what has been put in a shopping basket before check out, to count the number of people looking at a website or to look at how users navigate the site.

What is changing?
The rules previously required websites to tell browsers about cookies they used and give information about how to 'opt out'. Most organisations did this by putting information in their privacy policy.

The new rules require, in most cases, that websites wanting to use cookies get consent. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has produced specific guidance on the ways in which organisations might meet this requirement.

The changes include the introduction of new powers for the Commissioner to enforce the requirements of the Regulations. The main change is the Commissioner will now have the power to serve a monetary penalty of up to £500,000 on organisations that seriously breach the rules.

In most cases, a simple Cookie Policy statement will suffice.


For more information visit www.ico.gov.uk