ICO works with US, Europe on cookie privacy

Summary:The Information Commissioner's Office is working with privacy regulation colleagues in the US and Europe to harmonise approaches to web tracking using cookies.US work on Do Not Track standards needs to dovetail with European privacy regulation efforts on cookies, and take into account the international nature of large businesses with a web presence, Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) group manager Dave Evans told ZDNet UK on Friday.

The Information Commissioner's Office is working with privacy regulation colleagues in the US and Europe to harmonise approaches to web tracking using cookies.

US work on Do Not Track standards needs to dovetail with European privacy regulation efforts on cookies, and take into account the international nature of large businesses with a web presence, Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) group manager Dave Evans told ZDNet UK on Friday.

"Coming up with the ideal UK solution in isolation wouldn't work, because we're talking about the internet here," he said. "Any organisation that operates across borders isn't just interested in what the ICO's saying. We've got to make sure our approach to all this fits with our European colleagues' approaches."

Major internet companies such as Facebook and Google, which use cookies as part of their advertising business model, are in discussions with the UK data protection watchdog over their use of the technology.

"Let's be honest about it, nobody was jumping for joy when this law was passed. But the organisations we've spoken to are saying: 'Look, this is difficult, this is a challenge, these are the difficulties that we face, but this is what we've come up with'," Evans said.

"In other words, they are being generally quite positive, even in the face of something that they didn't want to happen," he added.

The UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) specify that companies need to gain consent for cookie use. The ICO will start to enforce the regulations after May 26, but is unlikely to fine companies over cookie use.

Topics: Security

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Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com, writing about all manner of security and open-source issues.Tom had various jobs after leaving university, including working for a company that hired out computers as props for films and television, and a role turning the entire back catalogue of a publisher into e-books.Tom eventually found tha... Full Bio

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