What are Cookies?
A cookie is a piece of personal data that remembers who you are between web pages. This allows websites to recognise and track your browsing habits. There are three main overlapping groups of cookies that have different effects on how information is being tracked.
Session Cookies – Files that allow sites to link actions of a visitor during a single browsing session. These are mainly used to track basic pieces of information e.g. an e-commerce site storing cookies for shopping baskets. These ‘zero compliance risk’ cookies will not come under the new law because they are less privacy intrusive and generally not long term.
Consistent Cookies – These remain on the user’s device between sessions and allow several sites to remember details about the visitor with consent. These ‘medium compliance risk’ cookies can be targeted by digital marketers and advertisers to understand what activities you perform on each session.
Third-Party Cookies – They are used to study how people navigate a site. A visited site can be used to trigger an advertisement that is based on the visitor’s viewing habits. These cookies have a high compliance risk because they are used to track and record a visitor’s interests without prior consent.
The latest guidelines suggests asking website owners for varying degrees of consent to differentiate between the cookies that provide enhanced functionality, and those that exist to gather information about you for the site’s own purpose. There are a few things you can do to comply with the cookie law.
Perform an Audit
Identify the type of cookies you are collecting and their usage.
Assess the level of data you are storing, the level of intrusiveness and tracking.
Decide the best solution for how you are going to present this information to your users
You will have to adapt your website to ask for the user’s permission to opt-in or opt-out of using cookies, the following are a few ways you could implement the cookie disclaimer into your sites:
Pop-ups or Accordion – When a user comes to your site, a pop-up window will inform visitors of the kind of cookies that you are going to collect, allowing them to opt in or out of the terms.
T’s & C’s – Before you let the user register to the service, include an explicit opt-in/opt-out with the registration.
Feature LED – Having the cookie’s terms up before you access a certain type of media on a site e.g. Youtube video.
These laws will come into effect in just a day, and has the potential to completely re-shape the web experience. We hope that it will bring together interesting parties so that we can work together to create a greater transparency for visitors, enabling a new level of trust to emerge. Online services have to continue their efforts to rely on a fair and open exchange of the user’s activity and to decide on the best solution to take.