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EU cookie consent law largely ignored

Simon Cox

28 May 2012

Articles


EU cookie consent law largely ignored

The EU has give the UK until May 28th 2012 to comply with the cookie consent law - how many of the organisations pinpointed by the ICO have met the deadline?

Most UK organisations have ignored the EU directive on cookies

The EU Cookie Consent law has been making a lot of waves in the web industry since it was first announced. The UK was given an extended period to implement the law and this has been overseen by the Information Commissioner’s Office - "the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals" - know as the ICO. 

The ICO published a list of organisations that it has written to, spread across a wide spectrum of operations, and in many cases has been working with to get feedback on the approach to the cookie law issue. This resulted in an 11th hour change to the law on the 24th May 2012 much to the outrage of those companies that have spent a lot of time and effort getting compliant in time.

I reviewed that list of organisations expecting to see the majority of sites in compliance with the new law - especially since the ICO had highlighted these and had been in contact. These were my findings: 

Organisation URL reviewed Opt in/out? Cookies
Acumen Professional Intelligence Limited http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/ No 4
Amazon.co.uk Limited http://www.amazon.co.uk/ No 4
AOL (UK) Limited http://www.aol.co.uk/ No 11
Apple (UK) Limited http://www.apple.com/uk/ No 1
Argos Limited http://www.argos.co.uk No 2
Associated Newspapers Limited http://www.associatednewspapers.com/ No 1
Automobile Association Developments Limited http://www.theaa.com/ No 2
Barclays Bank PLC http://www.barclays.co.uk Yes 2
BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ Yes 5
BBC Radio 1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/ Yes 6
BBC Sports http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/ Yes 6
Belfast City Council http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/ Yes 2
Betfair Limited http://www.betfair.com/ No 11
Boots UK Limited http://www.boots.com/ No 11
British Airways PLC http://www.britishairways.com/ No 18
British Broadcasting Corporation http://www.bbc.co.uk/ Yes 7
British Sky Broadcasting Limited http://www.sky.com/ No 8
Channel Four Television Corporation http://www.channel4.com/ Yes 5
Department For Transport http://www.dft.gov.uk/ No 2
Deputy Company Secretary ? ? ?
Derry City Council http://www.derrycity.gov.uk/ No 1
Direct Line Insurance Plc http://www.directline.com/ No 3
Domino's Pizza Group Limited http://www.dominos.uk.com/ No 1
Dumfries and Galloway Council http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/ No 1
easyJet Airline Company Limited http://www.easyjet.com/ No 21
Ebay (UK) Limited http://www.ebay.co.uk/ No 4
Everything Everywhere Limited http://everythingeverywhere.com/ No 1
Facebook UK Ltd http://www.facebook.com/ No 5
Giving.com Limited http://giving.com/ No 5
Google UK Limited http://www.google.co.uk/ No 6
Group Regulatory Relations ? ? ?
Hallmark Cards PLC http://www.hallmark.co.uk/ No 6
Haymarket Media Group Ltd http://www.haymarket.com/ No 2
HSBC Bank PLC http://www.hsbc.co.uk/ Yes 3
IPC Media Ltd (NME) http://www.ipcmedia.com/ No 2
Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited http://www.jamieoliver.com/ No 6
Jet2.com Limited http://www.jet2.com/ No 14
John Lewis PC http://www.johnlewis.com/ No 3
Lloyds TSB Bank PLC http://www.lloydstsb.com/ No 2
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council http://www.merthyr.gov.uk/ Yes 1
Met Office http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/ No 1
Microcourt Limited http://www.jacquielawson.com/ No 10
Microsoft Limited http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/default.aspx No 1
Mind Candy Limited http://mindcandy.com/ No 4
Moneysupermarket.com http://www.moneysupermarket.com/ Yes 4
MyMaths Limited http://www.mymaths.co.uk/ No 1
National Assembly for Wales http://www.assemblywales.org/ No 1
National Lottery http://www.national-lottery.co.uk/ No 9
National Westminster Bank PLC http://www.natwest.com/ Yes 6
Network Rail Limited http://www.networkrail.co.uk/ Yes 1
Next Group PLC http://www.nextplc.co.uk/ No 2
NHS http://www.nhs.uk/ No 3
NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/ No 3
Northern Ireland Assembly http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/ No 4
Public Service Ombudsman Wales http://www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk/ No 2
Qype Limited http://www.qype.co.uk/ No 19
Rightmove Group Limited http://www.rightmove.co.uk/ No 2
Royal Society For The Protection of Birds http://www.rspb.org.uk/ No 14
Sainsburys Supermarket Limited http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/ No 10
Scottish Government http://home.scotland.gov.uk/ Yes 2
Scottish Parliament http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/ No 1
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman http://www.spso.org.uk/ No 1
Tesco Stores Limited http://www.tesco.com/ No 6
tfl.gov.uk http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ No 3
The Cabinet Office http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/ No 1
The National Trust http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ No 10
The Office Of The Ombudsman For NI http://www.ni-ombudsman.org.uk/ No 4
Trader Publishing Ltd http://www.autotrader.co.uk/ No 25
TSL Education Limited http://www.tsleducation.com/ No 2
Turner Broadcasting System Europe Ltd http://www.turner.com/ No 1
Virgin Media Limited http://www.virginmedia.com/ No 18
Weightwatchers http://www.weightwatchers.co.uk/ No 8
Welsh Government http://wales.gov.uk/ No 1
William Hill (Bookmakers) Ltd http://www.williamhill.com/ No 2
Yahoo UK Limited http://uk.yahoo.com/ No  5

 

Of the 75 organisations listed by the ICO 13 had implemented a cookie consent function, 60 had done nothing (and may not need to) and 2 I could not fathom who the ICO had written to so could not find a website to test. 

This is despite good advice and tips on Cookie Consent law implementation being readily available around the web. One UK agency, Silktide, have even created a Cookie Consent kit that takes 5 minutes to update a site to make it compliant. For the bigger companies though this kind of change is a challenge and the court costs and fines may well be less than the cost of implementation.

If you want to read more about the Cookie Consent law I suggest you start your journey at the ICO and then move onto the No Cookie Law website.

 

*To do this test I used the Ghostery Chrome plug-in to show the cookies but in some cases it did not detect any so on further investigation with the Web Developer plug in I was able to see the cookies set by the website. It's not perfect but its a good indication of the state of compliance with this law.

*Note that simoncox.com is not on the ICO list and therefore I have not been directly consulted by the ICO and since none of the EU websites have bothered to comply (seriously!) I will wait to see what the best practice is - or for a change in the law.

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