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EU cookie consent law largely ignored

by Simon Cox

2012-05-28

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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​.thes​tu​den​t​room​.co​.uk/ No 4
Ama​zon​.co​.uk Limited http://​www​.ama​zon​.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​.asso​ci​at​ed​news​pa​pers​.com/ No 1
Auto­mo­bile Asso­ci­a­tion Devel­op­ments Limited http://​www​.theaa​.com/ No 2
Bar­clays Bank PLC http://​www​.bar​clays​.co​.uk Yes 2
BBC News http://​www​.bbc​.co​.uk/​news/ Yes 5
BBC Radio 1 http://​www​.bbc​.co​.uk/​r​a​dio1/ Yes 6
BBC Sports http://​www​.bbc​.co​.uk/​s​p​o​rt/0/ Yes 6
Belfast City Council http://​www​.belfastc​i​ty​.gov​.uk/ Yes 2
Bet­fair Limited http://​www​.bet​fair​.com/ No 11
Boots UK Limited http://​www​.boots​.com/ No 11
British Air­ways PLC http://​www​.britishair​ways​.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​.chan​nel4​.com/ Yes 5
Depart­ment For Transport http://​www​.dft​.gov​.uk/ No 2
Deputy Com­pa­ny Secretary ? ? ?
Der­ry City Council http://​www​.der​ryc​i​ty​.gov​.uk/ No 1
Direct Line Insur­ance Plc http://​www​.direct​line​.com/ No 3
Domino’s Piz­za Group Limited http://​www​.domi​nos​.uk​.com/ No 1
Dum­fries and Gal­loway Council http://​www​.dum​gal​.gov​.uk/ No 1
easy­Jet Air­line Com­pa­ny Limited http://​www​.easy​jet​.com/ No 21
Ebay (UK) Limited http://​www​.ebay​.co​.uk/ No 4
Every­thing Every­where Limited http://​every​thingev​ery​where​.com/ No 1
Face­book UK Ltd http://​www​.face​book​.com/ No 5
Giv​ing​.com Limited http://​giv​ing​.com/ No 5
Google UK Limited http://​www​.google​.co​.uk/ No 6
Group Reg­u­la­to­ry Relations ? ? ?
Hall­mark Cards PLC http://​www​.hall​mark​.co​.uk/ No 6
Hay­mar­ket Media Group Ltd http://​www​.hay​mar​ket​.com/ No 2
HSBC Bank PLC http://​www​.hsbc​.co​.uk/ Yes 3
IPC Media Ltd (NME) http://​www​.ipc​me​dia​.com/ No 2
Jamie Oliv­er Enter­pris­es Limited http://​www​.jamieo​liv​er​.com/ No 6
Jet2​.com Limited http://​www​.jet2​.com/ No 14
John Lewis PC http://​www​.john​lewis​.com/ No 3
Lloyds TSB Bank PLC http://​www​.lloyd​stsb​.com/ No 2
Merthyr Tyd­fil Coun­ty Bor­ough Council http://​www​.merthyr​.gov​.uk/ Yes 1
Met Office http://​www​.metof​fice​.gov​.uk/ No 1
Micro­court Limited http://​www​.jacquielaw​son​.com/ No 10
Microsoft Lim­it­ed http://​www​.microsoft​.com/​e​n​-​g​b​/​d​e​f​a​u​l​t​.aspx No 1
Mind Can­dy Limited http://​mind​can​dy​.com/ No 4
Mon​ey​su​per​mar​ket​.com http://​www​.mon​ey​su​per​mar​ket​.com/ Yes 4
MyMaths Lim­it­ed http://​www​.mymaths​.co​.uk/ No 1
Nation­al Assem­bly for Wales http://​www​.assem​bly​wales​.org/ No 1
Nation­al Lottery http://​www​.nation​al​-lot​tery​.co​.uk/ No 9
Nation­al West­min­ster Bank PLC http://​www​.natwest​.com/ Yes 6
Net­work Rail Limited http://​www​.net​workrail​.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​.niassem​bly​.gov​.uk/ No 4
Pub­lic Ser­vice Ombuds­man Wales http://​www​.ombuds​man​-wales​.org​.uk/ No 2
Qype Lim­it­ed http://​www​.qype​.co​.uk/ No 19
Right­move Group Limited http://​www​.right​move​.co​.uk/ No 2
Roy­al Soci­ety For The Pro­tec­tion of Birds http://​www​.rspb​.org​.uk/ No 14
Sains­burys Super­mar­ket Limited http://​www​.sains​burys​.co​.uk/ No 10
Scot­tish Government http://​home​.scot​land​.gov​.uk/ Yes 2
Scot­tish Parliament http://​www​.scot​tish​.par​lia​ment​.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​.cab​i​netof​fice​.gov​.uk/ No 1
The Nation­al Trust http://​www​.nation​al​trust​.org​.uk/ No 10
The Office Of The Ombuds­man For NI http://​www​.ni​-ombuds​man​.org​.uk/ No 4
Trad­er Pub­lish­ing Ltd http://​www​.auto​trad​er​.co​.uk/ No 25
TSL Edu­ca­tion Limited http://​www​.tsle​d​u​ca​tion​.com/ No 2
Turn­er Broad­cast­ing Sys­tem Europe Ltd http://​www​.turn​er​.com/ No 1
Vir­gin Media Limited http://​www​.vir​gin​media​.com/ No 18
Weight­watch­ers http://​www​.weight​watch​ers​.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 simon​cox​.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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