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EU Cookies Deadline Looming.
What to do? Analytics and advertising cookies may be illegal from May

 4:35 pm on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

Having put my head in the sand about this EU cookie directive and hoping it would go away, I'm beginning to realise just how serious the situation is. My site uses Google Analytics, and I serve advertising through a variety of advertising agencies as well as through Adsense, all of which presumably drop their own cookies.

This from the ICO, the body who is in charge of enforcing the directive in the UK:

The deadline for compliance for all UK websites is now 26th May 2012. I haven't seen many websites which are complying, but the ICO itself is running a banner along the top of their website asking visitors to check a box. [ico.gov.uk...] My reaction? Ummmm, let's see .... no. And I'm a webmaster.

So I'm going to have to work out how to put the message for appropriate EU visitors on my site, once I've worked out how to isolate the cookies that I would need to ask permission for. I'm going to have to come up with a way of not tracking, via Analytics, people who choose not to opt in (I read an estimate that suggests only 10% will). Technically all of this is way beyond me, so I will need to find the means to outsource at a very lean time.

I have found a few companies online offering Cookie Directive solutions. One asked me to download a plug-in and visit every page of my website, collecting information about all the cookies I run. I could spend the rest of the year doing that. I have a good few thousand pages.

I have no idea what happens as regards the advertising that is served on the site, especially as more and more ads are "personalised". If I don't get permission for each and every cookie, does that mean I am responsible for whatever cookies the ad agencies place via my site? Will people continue to visit and browse my site with a scary "cookie" message across the top?

With potential fines of up to £500,000 this is no laughing matter. I admit to being completely out of my depth. Honestly what with the last year of coping with Panda and now this, I feel like throwing in the towel, and just closing down after 11 years on the net.

Incidentally, I was speaking to a couple of other UK webmasters recently and they weren't even aware of the Directive.

Can I ask what other webmasters are planning to do?



 5:20 pm on Mar 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't get too excited about it. How many people have you heard being prosecuted for spamming. The legislation for this had little effect. How many people have you heard being done for non-compliance with the ecommerce legislation in the Companies Act?

The truth of the matter is that these things have not been not policed. You have plenty of time to get to rips with it.


 1:44 pm on Mar 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

My first line of defence has been to get rid of GA and install Piwik (which also has an opt-out tool for visitors). The only third party widget we have is Addthis, which is set to not use cookies.
From what I understand of the directive, that's us sorted, and with relatively little hassle.


 11:06 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Can I ask what other webmasters are planning to do?

My advice is to move your sites to a host outside EU. Faster, cheaper and no bureaucratic hassle.


 11:18 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

We did have a discussion on this a few days ago.

UK and EU Cookie Permissions Compliance [webmasterworld.com]


 11:50 am on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

We did have a discussion on this a few days ago.

I just saw the thread, but seems to me it's in the wrong forum, as it relates to webmasters in EU, not to search engines with UK/Ireland.


 6:26 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Actually, it's about the EU law and the UK delay now coming in May 2012. It will now be implemented in the UK. The story could have gone in many places, Analytics, Web Gen, Pro Business Issues, etc.

I know what you're saying. The more the ICO say about it the more it become confusing.

I found this link to a PDF file which seems to lay out the information a little clearer.


As you can see, there are exemptions, but there is the importance of compliance. Either way, you have to get your privacy policy updated, and that is pretty easy to do.
The difficult thing is implementing the acceptance so that it looks elegant. That ICO example is pretty ugly.


 1:46 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

What a truly incompetent bit of European Parliament legislation. What a bunch of bozos.

That said, here's what we're doing:

1. Installing geotargeting software so that the carbuncle permission system is restricted to the EU only.

2. Updating terms and conditions and privacy policies on shopping carts to comply.

3. Switching our subscription popup system so that it runs on IP addresses in the EU only. (The rest of the world can keep the intelligent, cookie-based, functioning one.)

4. For EU visitors, switching off Google Analytics, and Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In like buttons, all until each of these has a cookie-free way of functioning. (Iíd love to hear from these guys if theyíre doing anything about this.)

SoÖ compliance with the law without worrying, ugly and meddlesome messages. Consequence: reduction in service for EU consumers.

What a total waste of time and money. Down with the European Union. Time we left them on their own to rot in mediocrity.


 5:00 pm on Mar 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I expect this sounds very naive, but am I right in thinking that I will need to get permission for every advertising cookie that runs through the site, too? My model is advertising driven and I use a variety of different agencies, all of whom use cookies - often it seems a whole bunch of them.

I spoke to one of the agencies to find out, and was told that "were very involved in Advertising Industry talks" and "would keep me informed" nearer the time.


 10:37 am on Apr 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

am I right in thinking that I will need to get permission for every advertising cookie that runs through the site, too?

I am not sure why you need to bother with this since you have alternatives.


 2:09 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

The more I read the, the less Iím bothered. I Run 5 sites for my company. One has AdSense which is the only one Iím slightly concerned about. Of course each site will need to be jugded bythe owner on a case by case basis.

Its already been implied that the information commissionerís office isnít going to be running around fining people left right and centre for having Google Analytics.

Have a read of this, it should put it into perspective if itís good enough for government sites then itís good enough for me.


Download the pdf at the end it has some guidelines. Coincidentally I have spoken with several web developers and it's just not at the forfront of their thinking. A lot of people are still in a wait and see mind set.

Advertising cookies are the sticking point, I would not be worried by using GA at all.


 6:22 am on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Great find, Novus.

If this approach is good enough for government websites, then it's good enough for us.

Cancel all activities in my post above, other than updating cookie policies and Ts&Cs.

Utterly incompetent, useless legislation.


 2:06 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

From what I have a read, I will be taking a measured, transparent approach to cookies, and I will try to educate visitors on the use of. All of this would demonstate steps towards compliance.

I most situations I would imagine this would be acceptable.


 2:56 pm on Apr 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

I arranged for a video interview with some of your questions.

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