New cookies law enforcement begins

We wrote last year on the revised law on consents required for use of website cookies, which came into force on 26 May 2011. The 12 month `grace period` which website owners had to ensure that their site complied with the new law has expired, meaning that websites which use cookies generally now need prior consent from visitors prior to using them.

Many of you may have noticed that some websites are now using banners and `tick boxes` at the top of their homepage as a way of gaining consent from their visitors to the use of cookies. Although this is one way of seeking to ensure compliance with the new laws, it is not the only possibility and depending on the nature of cookies being used may not be sufficient to demonstrate compliance. All website operators will need to ensure that the approach taken is the most appropriate solution in the circumstances bearing in mind the type of cookies used, how they are used and how intrusive that use is.

If your website uses cookies and you have not yet taken steps to comply with the new legislation then now is the time to act. The ICO has fining powers of up to £0.5m for data protection breaches and, following the expiry of the `grace period`, can now use those powers in respect of serious breaches of the new cookies law.

If you are unsure as to how the new law affects you or what you need to be doing at the moment, please contact James Peel on 01482 337312; email 

Posted on: 31/05/2012

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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