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Majority of public sector websites are in breach of law on cookies

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Research carried out by Socitm has shown that most public sector websites are in breach of the current law on cookies. The organisation which advices the public sector on a range of online matters found that out of 633 websites checked (including 433 local authorities) only 6 were found to be compliant. There was one case where a website had a total of 1,346 cookies although the average was found to be 32.

The law was changed in May this year in response to an EU directive and it is now a requirement for websites used by businesses and by the public sector to ask users for consent before cookies are downloaded onto their computers, or mobile devices. This also applies to cookies which have been posted on websites by third parties. Socitm which offers public sector organisations assistance with monitoring cookies have stressed that it is important that the websites be constantly checked to avoid any breaches of the legislation.

Enforcement of the legislation on cookies is the responsibility of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and they have given organisations 12 months to “get their house in order”. According to the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, this “does not let everyone off the hook”, and, the ICO will take action if organisations are not making any efforts to ensure websites are compliant with the legislation. Commenting earlier this year Mr Graham acknowledged that compliance will not be easy and it is a balancing act between protecting users and keeping the website effective. He however pointed out the importance of protecting users and said that “this law has been brought in to give consumers more choice about what companies know about them.”

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Written by Andrew Hodges

September 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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