CHANGES TO THE RULES ON USING COOKIES AND SIMILAR TECHNOLOGIES FOR STORING INFORMATION
The EU's 2002 Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive 2002/58/EC), has been amended by the 2009 Directive (2009/136/EC) to demand that storing and accessing information on users' computers was only lawful "on condition that the subscriber or user concerned has given his or her consent, having been provided with clear and comprehensive information".
The revised Directive makes explicit the need for a user's consent for serving cookies to that user's computer, unless the cookie is "strictly necessary" to provide a service "explicitly requested" by the user. This exception, where the cookie is "strictly necessary" for the provision of a service "explicitly requested" by the user, describes the process that takes a user from a product page to a checkout. However, other uses of cookies will require consent, for example the cookie written as soon as a visitor arrives to the shop, and every member state of the EU must implement the provisions of the new law by 26th May 2012.
How was it done?
The previous rule on using cookies for storing information was that you had to:
Many websites did this by putting information about cookies in their privacy policies and giving people the possibility of 'opting out'.
WHAT DO THE NEW RULES SAY?
The new requirement is essentially that cookies can only be placed on machines where the user or subscriber has given their consent.
(1) Subject to paragraph (4), a person shall not store or gain access to information stored, in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user unless the requirements of paragraph (2) are met.
(2) The requirements are that the subscriber or user of that terminal equipment
(a) is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the
storage of, or access to, that information; and
(b) has given his or her consent
(3) Where an electronic communications network is used by the same person to store or access information in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user on more than one
occasion, it is sufficient for the purposes of this regulation that the requirements of paragraph (2) are met in respect of the initial use.
(3A) For the purposes of paragraph (2), consent may be signified by a subscriber who amends or sets controls on the internet browser which the subscriber uses or by using another application or programme to signify consent.
4) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the technical storage of, or access to, information
(a) for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmissi
on of a communication over an electronic
communications network; or
(b) where such storage or access is strictly necessary for the provision of an information society
service requested by the subscriber or user.
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