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Changes to the rules on using cookies

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a report summarising the concerns reported to it by members of the public about UK website providers’ use of cookies. Between May and November 2012, the ICO received 550 reports via its cookie reporting tool. Most of the concerns were raised by individuals that were unhappy with the implied consent mechanisms authorised by the ICO or who felt that they have not been given enough information about how to decline cookies or manage them later.

In the report, the ICO reiterates its intention to take a practical and proportionate approach to enforcing the rules on cookies. However, if an organisation refuses to take steps to comply, or has been involved in a particularly privacy-intrusive use of cookies without telling individuals or obtaining consent, the ICO will consider using its formal regulatory powers, including the right to issue monetary penalty notices.

Our checklist, based on guidance issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office, sets out how a business should obtain consent from visitors to its website to store or retrieve usage information from users’ computers or mobile devices.

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