Cookie Compliance - What Does it Mean?

The implementation of the Cookie Law means that all websites within the EU are now required to seek consent from visitors in order to make use of cookies or other similar technologies.

Cookies are used by almost all websites, for a variety of purposes:

  • To measure and improve site quality through analysis of visitor behaviour (known as 'analytics')
  • To personalise pages and remember visitor preferences.
  • To manage shopping carts in online stores
  • To track people across websites and deliver targeted advertising

Until now sites have been able to do this, and all that was required was to put some vague information into their privacy policy. 

The law has now changed, and sites are now required to get visitor consent to use cookies when they are placed, or 'set' in the browser.

The Elements of Cookie Compliance

In order to be fully compliant with the new law, a website has to fulfill three requirements:

  • It must present visitors with information about the cookies the site uses, and their purpose.
  • It must obtain consent to use those cookies. In most cases consent can be implied, but sometimes it must be explicit.
  • It should provide a mechanism for visitors to withdraw consent, and then respond to withdrawl by preventing further use of cookies.

Consent would normally only need to be given once.  So returning visitors do not necessarily need to repeat the process. 

Although most cookies are covered by the new law, there are some important exceptions to the requirement for cookie consent to be aware of.

Any cookies that are 'strictly necessary' for providing services being requested by the visitor, do not require consent.

This will include some things like cookies that enable shopping baskets to function properly, or for people to login to private areas of a site.  Many types of temporary, or session cookies  are also included in this definition.

However, even with these types of cookies, it is good practice to tell your visitors about them as part of your cookie law compliance strategy.

Get Cookie Law Compliant with Optanon

Optanon is a managed software service designed to help you make your website cookie law compliant. It enables any website to easily display messaging about the use of cookies, obtain clear consent, and enable continued use of the site by visitors if they choose to refuse or withdraw that consent.

Through the MyOptanon management interface you can customise and change your messaging as at any time, as well as manage how your website responds to visitor privacy preferences.

Optanon is the easiest way to make your website compliant today, and with our commitment to continued development as the law and consumer expectations evolve, keep it that way in the future.

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