In May, 2012 a new e-Privacy Directive (adopted in 2009) became law throughout the European Union. Know colloquially as the “EU cookie law” (though it also regulates Flash ‘cookies’ and HTML Local Storage) this sets out rules about when and, to a lesser extent, how a website visitor must be asked for permission before a cookie is set in their browser. Unfortunately, despite having years to plan and implement the new regulations, their introduction has been botched. With each member state left to interpret the rules as they see fit, the result is a hodgepodge of laws, guidelines and contradictory advice which neither meets the needs of webmasters or the users of their site. The end result has been that, so far, many companies appear to have decided that ignoring the law is the best and/or cheapest option, despite the fact that failure to adhere to the regulations can result in a hefty fine – in the U.K. the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have the ability to impose a penalty of up to £500,000 for non-compliance.
With it’s online configuration tool, it takes next to no time to integrate into your site(s) – depending on how many cookies your site is setting it will most likely take you less time to implement that it took me to write this blog post.
The Civic UK site provides comprehensive instructions for deployment of Cookie Control and while this is a job for a developer, it’s no more difficult than implementing any other jQuery-based library or plugin. The only feature I would like to see added to the Civic site is some links to the library in action. For now though, you can find a minimal version of it on their own site at http://civicuk.com and a more comprehensive implementation at this public library site – http://www.corkcitylibraries.ie/digital.
Bonus: it was developed in Scotland.
- Cookie Control: A universal solution for cookie law compliance (civicuk.com)
- Civic (civicuk.com)
- New EU cookie law (e-Privacy Directive) (ico.gov.uk)
- International Chamber of Commerce UK Cookie Guide in PDF format (international-chamber.co.uk)
- The BBC unveils its EU cookie law solution (econsultancy.com)
- geoPlugin (geoplugin.com)