The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (EC Directive 2002/58/EC) cover the use by websites of cookies and similar technologies for storing information, and accessing information stored, on the computers, tablets or mobiles of their visitors.
A cookie is a small file, typically of letters and numbers, downloaded on to a device when the user accesses a website. Cookies are then sent back to originating website on each subsequent visit; they are useful because they allow a website to recognise a user’s device.
These new Regulations were introduced into UK law on May 25, 2011 through The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011. From May 26, 2012 all websites using cookies must:
> Inform users about the cookies they are using;
> Explain what the cookies do; and
> Obtain website visitors’ consent to store a cookie on their device.
Initially it was reported that websites would need to provide users with the means to actively opt-in to cookies being sent to their computers or mobile devices, but last-minute advice by the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is policing the reglations in the UK, now states that “Implied consent” – that is, by using a website you acknowledge that cookies may be used – is sufficient to comply with the reglations.
If you would like more information about this practice and would like to know your options in relation to not having this information used click here.
You may also have the option to refuse all cookies using the preferences or settings menu on your web browser.