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UK business must not delay EU cookie rules preparation, warns the ICO

08 March 2011

UK businesses must thinking seriously about how they will comply with new EU E-Privacy laws, despite delays in the formulation of government guidelines, says the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

The warning comes after the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) admitted that guidelines on what businesses must do to comply with the new directive will not be ready before the 25 May enforcement date.

The directive will require businesses to obtain explicit consent from web users who are being tracked using text files commonly known as "cookies".

The directive also requires that businesses inform website users about the information being stored in cookies and how that is used to determine which adverts they see.

In a statement, culture minister Ed Vaizey said he recognised that the delay would cause uncertainty for businesses and consumers.

"We do not expect the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to take enforcement action in the short term against businesses and organisations as they work out how to address their use of cookies," he said.

But, according to the BBC, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has warned that businesses should still begin working out how they will get consent from customers to use cookies.

Businesses should not consider the delay as "a get out of jail free card," he said, as the new privacy directive is law and will be enforced in the UK.

This story was first published by Computer Weekly

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