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by Michael Ford last modified 17 May, 2012 05:39 PM

New rules on web cookies - applies from 25 May 2012

A new law came into effect on 26 May 2011, giving web users the right to choose what information gets stored on their phone or computer. This includes cookies placed by websites and the likes of Google Analytics. The law will be enforced from 25 May 2012. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published advice on what this means for you.

Email the web editor if you have any queries.

The text below is taken from the DirectGov website.

In the past many websites placed cookies on visitors’ computers without their consent. From 26 May, businesses and organisations running websites in the UK will need a user’s consent to store cookies on their computer.

Many websites use cookies. As the rules change, users of websites are likely to start seeing more information about what cookies are used on websites, and what information is being stored. Users will be given more choices about these cookies, including being asked agree to a cookie being used.

The ICO has published more detailed advice on what the law means for you as a consumer.

Web cookies and how they are used

A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers sent to your computer or mobile phone when you visit a website. It means that the website can recognise your computer or phone if you return to the same site.

Cookies are used for different purposes. These include remembering personalised preferences on websites, recording items that you have put into a shopping basket, and counting and analysing the visitors coming to a website.

For more information about cookies, follow the link below.

Advice for organisations running websites

Organisations and businesses will be given time to come up with workable technical solutions before enforcement of the new law begins.

The Information Commissioner has said that the ICO is unlikely to take enforcement action against businesses and organisations while they are working actively to address their use of cookies. In the meantime website owners are expected to abide by the spirit of the law and develop best practice ahead of full implementation.

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