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Business website owners warned about new EU cookie law

Posted: 14th April 2011   In: Corporate Commercial

Firms that use websites to promote their business are being urged not to fall foul of new EU legislation relating to consumer privacy.

In future, firms will have to obtain permission before they are allowed to store files on a consumer’s computer.

The new law is designed to control the use of small files such as cookies. The Information Commissioner’s Office says these files are currently being used by the majority of businesses and organisations in the UK.

Cookies can be installed on people’s computers to store information about their interests and preferences based on the products they’ve viewed and purchased online in the past.

It means that when they revisit a website that created the cookie, they can be shown products and services specifically tailored to their interests. The cookies can also store sensitive information such as a person’s payment details.

They can make online purchases much easier, but they also raise issues of privacy.

On 25th May this year, an amendment to the EU’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive will require businesses to obtain consent from consumers before they can use cookies and similar files.

Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said: “Businesses and organisations running websites in the UK must wake up to the fact that this is happening. Both the business community and public sector organisations need to start thinking clearly about how they will meet the requirements of the new Directive.”

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