The UK’s government has said that it will be endorsing a European Union directive, which looks at making websites ask permission before storing cookies on a user’s computer.
Ed Vaizey has said that the EU Electronic Communications Framework will bring the UK’s regulatory framework up to date – and claimed that it would ensure a level playing field across Europe.
He also said that the government will not ‘gold-plate’ the regulations by adding any additional measures.
Cookies are generally used for unpleasantness like behavioural tracking across multiple sites, but are also used to remember if you’re logged in to a particular site or to maintain preferences.. “They’re served from every single ad serving system on the planet,” he added.
The main problem is that the rules will come into force before the ICO will even issue guidelines. This means that websites probably won’t face any action if they fail to comply.
Another problem is the government’s suggestion that it’s “questionable” if they’d be able to implement it simply through browser changes – meaning each individual website would have to adapt.
To address these concerns, the government says it will work with browser manufacturers to see if browser settings can be enhanced to meet the requirements of the revised directive.
Because of the delay with the ICO, the department has also said a second working group would be formed it could communicate with “industry players about how they can complement delayed guidance.”