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Keeping the lid on the Cookie Jar

In May 2012 the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive comes into force. This means a new era of digital marketing and a new threat to online business. It is designed to protect users’ privacy if they do not wish their browsing habits to be tracked.


Websites have to radically change the way they alert users to the fact that cookies are being used. Most websites have a note in the terms and conditions and their privacy policy to state that cookies are used . Cookies are tiny text files that are downloaded onto a computer when a website is visited and then send information back on each visit, allowing sites to tailor information on screen. Companies such as Google, Amazon, AOL and other networks rely on cookies to target consumers for online advertising, ensuring it is pertinent and relevant. Companies that track data for clients will also be affected.


The challenge is to secure consent – possibly websites could use pop ups and icons to alert users but these will alter the customer experience and affect firms competing with each other – some may comply whilst others do not take action.


Any business needs to make sure it knows what cookies are being used on their website and why. It is important to identify any negative issues and see how intrusive they are. Are they essential?  If so businesses need to explain this to their customers. May 1st is fast approaching – so don’t leave your head in the sand. According to Computerworld UK 95% of businesses are not complying!