The original EU legislation that became known as the “E-Privacy Directive” was published in 2003. It was concerned quite widely with the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector. In 2009 the Directive was amended by Directive 2009/136/EC that included a requirement to seek consent for cookies. The EU Directive became law in the UK on 26 May 2011. The ICO (Information Commissioners Office) is responsible for enforcing it in the UK and decided that enforcement would commence from 26 May 2012. As a result of the changes to the law, website owners must now:
Tell site visitors that the cookies are there;
Explain to site visitors what the cookies are doing, and obtain the consent of site visitors to store a cookie on their computer or device.
What are cookies?
A cookie is a piece of information that a website stores on the website browser on your computer. The browser sends the information back to the website to enable the website to recognise the user.
Cookies include information such as the lifetime and expiry date of the cookie, the domain the cookie has come from and an identifier – for example, a random unique number.
Managing cookies using your browser
Internet browsers will usually provide an option to disallow the setting of all or some cookies. You can find more about using your browser’s cookie settings either via the help menu for your browser or on the browser’s own website. Cookies can also be deleted by using your internet browser, but you must disallow them otherwise they will be reapplied the next time you visit a website. If you use your browser settings to block all cookies (including essential cookies) you may not be able to access all or parts of our website.
Cookies usually fit into one or more of the following four categories.
Category 1: Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the website and use its features. These cookies do not gather any information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you’ve been on the internet. We are not required to get your consent to the use of Strictly Necessary Cookies. They last for one “session” and expire when you leave our website or close the browser. Cookies that fall into this category are:
i. Shopping cart cookies;
ii. Access to protected areas of a website;
iii. Remembering previously entered text so it’s not lost if the page refreshes.
Category 2: Performance Cookies
Performance Cookies store anonymous information only and therefore cannot be used to identify you. We are required to get your consent to the use of Performance Cookies. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device. Performance Cookies can be deleted from your browser history at any point before their expiry time. Cookies that fall into this category are:
iii. Pay Per Click.
Category 3: Functionality Cookies
These cookies remember your preferences to personalise your experience on our website. We are required to get your consent to the use of Functionality Cookies. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device. Functionality Cookies can be deleted from your browser history at any point before their expiry time. Cookies that fall into this category are:
i. Detecting if you have already seen a pop-up to ensure it doesn’t get shown to you again;
ii. Submitting comments;
iii. Remembering colours, font sizes, and page backgrounds.
Category 4: Targeted Advertising Cookies
Targeted Advertising Cookies are used to deliver adverts more relevant to you and your interests. They are also used to limit the number of times you see an advertisement as well as help measure the effectiveness of the advertising campaign. The information they store is not anonymous. We are required to get your consent to Target Advertising Cookies. We will ask for consent from you to store these cookies on your device using a pop-up, overlay, splash page, or header/footer bar. Cookies that fall into this category are:
i. Collecting information about browser habits to target advertising;
ii. Collecting information about browser habits to target website content.
We will inform you about cookies in these ways: