A change in UK law which will come into affect on 25th May 2011 will stipulate that all company websites ask users’ permission to place cookies on their computers, reports company compliance experts London Registrars (https://www.london-registrars.co.uk/). While the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) understands most companies will struggle to meet the new requirement by the May deadline, it will be looking for a commitment to compliance in this matter and a plan to put it into effect.

Cookies are small files containing data regarding the user’s activity on the website in order for companies to customise the website experience. It is the storage of this data that the information watchdog is concerned about, giving rise to the new law amendment which means that all company and organisation websites will need permission to place cookies on site users’ PCs as of 25th May 2011. Businesses across the UK will need to ensure company compliance with this planned amendment to the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham expands on the ICO’s position on the use of cookies and the practicalities of corporate governance in this matter: “We are proactively working with the government, businesses and the public sector to find a workable solution. We recognise that the internet as we know it today depends on the widespread use of cookies and there are of course legitimate business reasons for using them. So we are clear that these changes must not have a detrimental impact on consumers nor cause an unnecessary burden on UK businesses. We recognise this could cause uncertainty for businesses and consumers, he continued, therefore we do not expect the ICO to take enforcement action in the short term against businesses and organisations as they work out how to address their use of cookies. The final wording of the new rules is yet to be published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, but the ICO has said that it will issue further guidance once that has been finalised.”

Corporate governance
 and legal support firms such as London Registrars are giving advice on workable solutions in order to meet these and all company compliance issues. For more information, contact London Registrars through their website at https://www.london-registrars.co.uk/.