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The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is warning businesses and other organisations running websites in the UK to understand the dangers of imminent changes in EU law.

New business legislation will require firms to get consent in order to store or access information on consumers’ computers. The law, which comes into force on 25 May 2011, is an amendment to the EU’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive.

Under the law, UK businesses and other organisations must obtain consent from visitors to their websites in order to store on and retrieve usage information from users’ computers.

The most common method with which organisations store information on visitors is cookies, a small file that a website puts on a user’s computer so that it can remember something, for example the user’s preferences, at a later time.

The majority of businesses and organisations in the UK currently use cookies for a wide variety of reasons, but under the changes such techniques will not be lawful without consent.

“The Directive will come into force in less than two months time and businesses and organisations running websites in the UK must wake up to the fact that this is happening. We are proactively working with the government, businesses and the public sector to find a workable solution,” said Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham.

“Once the new regulations are published there will be a major job of education and guidance to be undertaken. In the meantime, both the business community and public sector organisations need to start thinking clearly about how they will meet the requirements of the new Directive.”

Unsure about how the EU’s proposals will alter your business practices? Our data protection experts are here to help. Contact us today and find out more.


Written by Andrew Hodges

March 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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