Web Talk – October 4, 2019

Web Talk – October 4, 2019

It’s been almost nine years since the ‘Cookie Law’ became an EU directive and over 18 months since the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force.

For many small businesses it probably doesn’t seem like much has changed, but recent rulings in Europe suggest things are going to be tightening up.

What are cookies?

The Cookie Law is privacy legislation that requires websites to gain consent from visitors to store relevant information on a computer or mobile device. 

Most websites feature a cookie consent box, prompting a user to accept cookies to use the website. Cookies in general are a necessary part of website development, indeed most websites would not function correctly without them. 

When you use a website form, or account area, or wish-list, in fact any area of a website that retains information, this is generally done using cookies. 

Cookies save information on your computer to enhance your user experience and speed up the delivery of content as you navigate through a website.

Most websites would not work well if cookies weren’t in use.

Marketing activity also uses cookies, tracking user behaviour, recording activity for marketing such as Facebook and Google Retargeting and populating data for data metrics software such as Google Analytics.

GDPR 

After a spate of recent European rulings, Europe is starting to clamp down on the use of non-essential tracking cookies unless ‘consent’ has been explicitly granted. 

GDPR is a law that protects the privacy of website users and website owners have to get consent before they can store and access user activity, even if that user is anonymous, such as in the use of analytics.

Many websites have cookie consent boxes, but this tightening of the rules means that non-essential cookies should not be stored unless the accept button is selected. 

Rather than the cookie consent function being lip service to the rules, websites should not set the cookie unless the box is selected, and website owners that do could risk penalty.

If you’re not sure whether your cookie policy and acceptance process is handling cookies in the right way, ask your website developer how the cookie functionality works, because it seems as though the rules are starting to be tightened up and you don’t want to be caught out.


• To read more on this and other subjects, please visit the blog at www.ascensor.co.uk/blog

For more information contact andrew@ascensor.co.uk.

Twitter: @andrewjfirth

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Ascensor are a Digital Agency providing website design, ecommerce and search engine optimisation.

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