The government, however, is treating this ‘law’ as more of a ‘helpful guideline’, saying that they do not intend to take immediate action for non-compliant sites and instead would offer guidance to companies. Many websites have taken the first step in implementing the cookie law; websites like BBC, The Guardian and BT have all begun by placing a small banner of text on their homepage explaining that by accessing the site, they comply with the fact that the website stores cookies.
There are four categories of cookies; strictly necessary cookies, performance cookies, functionality cookies and targeting or advertising cookies.
- Category one is for the types of cookies that are strictly necessary and no consent is required.
- Category two is cookies that only collect information about website usage for the benefit of the website operator. These cookies don’t collect store information that can identify a user. Gaining consent by functional use, place the words: “By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.”
- Category three is for cookies that are site specific and are linked to user choices whilst on the site. The consent for use for this category depends on the nature of the website and the function that the cookies will play. One option is to do the same as category 2 and place the words: “By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.” The other option is when the user selects the setting or function (e.g. language or country) add these words: “When you choose this setting/option, you agree that we can place icon/customisation cookies on your computer/device.
- Category four contains cookies that store the most information about site visitors. If the site operator sets up a targeting or advertising cookie then they are responsible for obtaining clear informed consent from the user. If there is a third party that sets up the targeting or advertising cookies with the permission of the site operator, it is the site operator that is still responsible for getting the consent for its use.
The end message of the EU cookie law is to make sure that users have an informed choice to allow the website to store their information using cookies. Its purpose is to make people aware of what cookies are doing on the website.