Your Consumer Privacy Rights
If you have come here wondering what all the fuss over cookies is about, we are here to help you.
New laws have been put in place across the EU to help protect your privacy while online. All websites owned by companies based in the EU should be complying with this law, and if they aren’t you can complain about it either to the site owners or to legal authorities that can require websites to comply or face heavy fines.
Although most sites will set cookies by default, you should be given an opportunity to refuse or withdraw your consent. However, in some countries you should be given a choice before cookies have been set.
If other websites you visit are not offering you the same choices, they may not be complying with the law, and your online privacy could be at risk without you knowing it.
How to Make a Complaint
If you don’t think your rights are being respected, or if cookies are being set by a site when you don’t want them to be, then you can do something about it.
You could simply stop visiting the site, but if you want the site owners to start respecting the law you should ask them to explain to you how they are complying with the law.
If you don’t get a satisfactory answer from them, then you have the right to report the site to the relevant authorities.
In most EU countries, this will be the organisation responsible for Data Protection or regulation of the telecommunications industry.
In the UK it is the Information Commissioner’s Office and they have a page on their website where you can register a complaint: ICO Cookie Complaints Tool. You can also find out more about your rights on their site.
All About Cookies
Cookies are small pieces of data that websites can store in your browser when you visit them. These cookies can be used to enhance your experience of a website, creating greater personalisation of the content and services you see.
However, some cookies can also be used to track your browsing across many different sites, and create a profile of your interests. This profile can be used to target you with online advertising.
Some people don’t like this kind of activity, and this is one of the reasons the law was created.
If you want to know more about how cookies work, and what they are used for, then go to Cookiepedia – the site that is all about cookies and nothing else.