ICO: Businesses 'must try harder' with cookies

Website owners must do more to comply with cookie regulations, according to privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office.Many businesses are not making enough of an effort to comply with cookie regulations that were brought in six months ago, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said on Tuesday.

Website owners must do more to comply with cookie regulations, according to privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office.

Many businesses are not making enough of an effort to comply with cookie regulations that were brought in six months ago, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said on Tuesday. Updated guidance for compliance with cookie laws was launched on Tuesday by information commissioner Christopher Graham.

"Our mid-term report can be summed up by the schoolteacher's favourite clichés 'could do better' and 'must try harder'," Graham said in a statement on Tuesday. "Many people running websites will still be thinking that implementing the law is an impossible task. But they now need to get to work."

Businesses have six months to comply with regulations which came into force in May.

No hard figures were available on Wednesday about numbers of businesses that are not compliant, an ICO spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Wednesday.

"Our feeling is that there are a lot of websites out there who are not engaged with [cookie compliance]," said the spokeswoman.

The cookie rules were brought in as part of the updated Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). The rules require businesses to gain user consent before placing tracking programs on people's computers, unless those programs are essential for the operation of the website. Organisations face possible fines of up to £500,000 for non-compliance with PECR.

The ICO has issued updated guidance on cookie use, but said on Wednesday that it had no plans issue a check-list for businesses to comply with cookie rules.

"People seem to be waiting for us to [provide a check-list], but we are putting people in the driving seat," said the ICO spokeswoman.