Version 7.3

EU cookie consent law largely ignored

by Simon Cox
Simon Cox, Author


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.