CookieLaw Blog May 23, 2011

Welcome to the Cookie Crunch Blog

This website is dedicated to the issues thrown up by recent changes in EU internet privacy law, and the potential impact they will have on the web as we know it today.

As I write, these laws will come into effect in just a few days time, and although there has been very little publicity or debate, they have the potential to completely re-shape the web experience for EU citizens.

A strict application of these laws could in fact have a massive negative impact on already fragile European economies, potentially handing huge competitive advantage to markets outside the EU jurisdiction.

We are sure that this was not the intention of the law makers, but it could be the unforseen effect.

We don’t want to let that happen.  Which is why we have set up this website.

First, a clarification.  We are not anti-EU.  We think that the EU wants to protect the privacy of its citizens both off and online. 

This is not a bad thing to want to do.  There are many, often unseen, threats to online privacy.  As we place more of our lives online, more data about us is captured, and used for many different purposes. 

The issue of who owns that data, and therefore how they can use it to their own advantage, is very much a live one.

However, there is a trade off to be made.  There are a lot of web services that are available free or almost free, and that millions of people take advantage of every day.  This is only possible if we exchange a little data about ourselves, our interests and habits, with the providers of these services.

Some would argue that this exchange has been largely one sided, in no small part becuase organisations have been gathering data about us without our knowing who is storing it and what they use it for. 

This may be true.

Yet there is a risk, if these new laws are interpreted and enforced in the strictest sense, that the pendulum will swing too far the other way.  Which could result in many of the services that we rely on every day becoming uneconomic to the point where they are lost. 

And we don’t think the EU wants that.

So we will be using this blog to highlight some of these issues, stir up debate, and bring together interested parties so that we can work together to find a new balance.

A balance that creates greater transparency for consumers, and enables a new level of trust to emerge so that we can all continue to use the online services that we have come to rely on, in a fair and open exchange.

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