Version 7.1

EU cookie consent law largely ignored

by Simon Cox



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:

UK top organ­i­sa­tions cook­ie review
© Simon Cox
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.


Other articles in this topic

Pludgebanging words into Google

I was testing out different made up words to see what Google returned. Read more about Pludgebanging words into Google

Using Google Data Studio to review your http to https migration

Migration from http to https can be fraught with issues you need to track and check. I looked for a way to help track migrations and give me additional insights using Google Data Studio. Read more about Using Google Data Studio to review your http to https migration

A first look at Safecont content quality analysis SEO tool

Review of a new tool from Data elasticity S.L in Spain that analyses the quality of your websites content Read more about A first look at Safecont content quality analysis SEO tool

How to find insecure pages in your site before Google start penalising them

Google will be highlighting all non-secure sites from July 2018 meaning that the Insecure Content Report of Screaming Frog will be in use a lot over the next few months - I will show you what to do. Read more about How to find insecure pages in your site before Google start penalising them

How I add canonicals into Perch CMS sites

The Canonical link in a page's header lets the search engines know where the original page resides. Originally conceived for situations where articles were duplicated they would reference the original. Google tends to choose the oldest version of a page that it can find (but not the only method it uses) and any other pages with the same or very similar content are considered duplicates and will not do a well on the Search Engine Results Pages - SERPs and we want our pages to do well there for the traffic. Read more about How I add canonicals into Perch CMS sites

Using a CDN to help migrate your sites hosting

Moving a site to new hosting can be fraught with issues. Here is one technique that I find useful when moving to a website to a new hosting server. Read more about Using a CDN to help migrate your sites hosting

HTML Test Page for CSS Style Guide

This content is used to test that css has been covered for all tags used in content. Read more about HTML Test Page for CSS Style Guide

EEUK11 report

The UK's first ExpressionEngine conference has taken place in Manchester in August 2011. I provide a report on the event itself and the surrounding activities. Read more about EEUK11 report

Assets for ExpressionEngine

Assets is a new file management add-on for ExpressionEngine and brings a new way of managing assets in your website. I installed it and built a simple image Gallery. Read more about Assets for ExpressionEngine

Responsive web design

Responsive web design has been emerging as a way forward over the past two years. Following inspiration from the way Simon Collison's crafted his personal website I have now implemented a Responsive Web Design on this, my personal website. Read more about Responsive web design


With HTML5 finally emerging from the primordial soup I thought it was time to have a look at where we have got to with fonts on the web, what today's techniques are and what is new in the world of the digital hot metal. Read more about WebFonts


Online testing suites are a very useful way of checking your website to see if it's up to scratch. I take you through Nibbler from Silktide. Read more about Nibbler

New look for 2010

I have finally taken the plunge and updated the site and have switched over to ExpressionEngine. Read more about New look for 2010