EU can't regulate cookies

The EU’s attempts to regulate cookies is crumbling as it is starting to look like the rules are half-baked.

According to the Wall Street Journal , the regulators are finding out that it is really tough it is to curb the practice of tracking Internet users’ movements on the Web.

Last year the European Union last year passed a law requiring companies to obtain consent from Web users when tracking files such as cookies are placed on users’ computers.

Member countries are still waiting to ratify the regulations, but already the EU faces attack from internet companies, advertisers, lawmakers, privacy advocates and EU member nations.

Apparently no one can work out what the law means. They don’t know if it is sufficient that users agree to cookies when setting up web browsers.

The Industry have come up with a plan that would let users see data collected about them and be allowed to opt out of it.

The law could also mean that placing cookies on a machine depend on the user checking a box each time.

European regulators in Brussels have promised they will release a guidance by early next year with member nations codifying the rule into national laws by May.

Under the old law, European law required websites to let consumers “opt out,” or decline, cookies, usually by choosing a web browser setting.

A committee led by Alexander Alvaro, a German member of the EU Parliament, suggested reversing that in the new law, requiring instead that a user “opt in” before cookies are placed.

That led to a draft stating that a cookie couldn’t be placed without “prior consent” from the user.

But that was rejected by the Interactive Advertising Bureau trade group whose members include Facebook, Google and Amazon.

After much arguing, the European Parliament approved the law in May of last year, with a passage stipulating that a browser’s setting that allows cookies would constitute “prior consent” was watered down and moved to an addendum.

This created the vagueness that which has led to the mess we are seeing now.