CookieLaw Blog November 13, 2012

ICO Publishes First Cookie Law Enforcement Statistics

The ICO has launched a new ‘enforcement’ section on its website today which includes the first reports on its activity to monitor and enforce the cookie law.

These are my initial thoughts on the figures.

The report covers both the websites they pro-actively wrote to in May, and those they have had complaints about between 25 May and 6 September via their online reporting tool.

Of the original 68 sites they wrote to, none of them had done nothing to comply, although 35% had taken ‘limited steps’ – which appears to have been enough for the ICO to have requested they go further, and threaten formal action if they do not.

The online complaints tool had complaints about 207 websites in just over three months.  This is not a big number – unless you take into account the fact that the law was still not very widely known at that time, and the tool itself is not very user friendly.  It would be very interesting to know if they have measured abandonment rates to see how many people gave up without finishing their complaint.

Of those sites, fully 40% appear to have done either nothing, or not enough, to comply.  This certainly shows that there is a long way to go and we look forward to seeing more information on their follow up activity.

However, it is the way they came to their conclusions about these sites that is very telling.  In both cases they said that they reached their conclusions through a ‘basic visual review’.

Now whilst this is all well and good, it is a long way from investigating whether or not sites are trying to comply, or just trying to appear to comply.  If  they started doing that I suspect the figures would make for even more stark reading.

More information has been promised by the end of November.

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