Firms must ready for laws on cookie use

Summary:U.K. businesses need to revise data collection methods to prep for European laws, effective May 25, requiring Web sites to obtain "explicit consent" from users before tracking their behavior via cookies, cautions government agency.

U.K. businesses with Web sites will need to revise how they gain consent from users to track online behavior using cookies before a related EU legislation kicks in late-May, warns the U.K. Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

A BBC report on Tuesday noted that starting May 25, a European Union (EU) e-privacy directive will come into effect requiring businesses to fully inform online users about the types of information stored in cookies. The directive also noted that businesses will need to alert users on why they are served particular advertisements.

According to BBC, the section in the directive related to cookies was formulated as an attempt to protect consumers' online privacy as well as limit how much information can be used for behavioral advertising.

The U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport is currently drafting specific guidelines businesses must follow to be in line with the EU directive, however, a spokesperson told BBC that these would not be finalized by the May 25 deadline.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham warned businesses not to think of the delay as a "get out of jail free" card. He urged businesses instead to start looking at how they communicate with customers to get their consent and look at steps that will make the process easier, said Graham.

Topics: IT Employment, Browser, CXO, Government : Asia, Legal, Mobility, Privacy

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The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate mas... Full Bio

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