Cookie laws causing confusion and indifference
Changes to cookie law regulations have led to confusion among SMBs, with channel players unconcerned by the Information Commissioner’s Office demands.
Following on from an EU directive last year concerning cookies used to track website visitors, the ICO has been pushing regulations which would ensure that individuals can opt out of tracking.
However, with many businesses and indeed the majority of government departments still not complying to the guidelines, there have been claims of a lack of clarity over website requirements.
According to a KPMG report this week, 45 out of 55 businesses looked at in the UK have not bothered with user consent for cookie despite the threat of a potential £500,000 fine.
This has not been helped by the ICO’s decision to ‘water-down’ the proposed regulations hours before they came into effect, further adding to confusion over the need to comply at all, with ‘implied consent’ now deemed adequate. Furthermore, concerns over fines also evaporated as the ICO soon relaxed its stance with masses of firms unable to comply in time.
For those companies which invested in meeting the regulations before realising most of the country would not similarly meet requirements, it has meant that many feel money has been wasted. Large organisations might easily be able to afford the changes to their sites to meet the guidelines, but for SMBs this can be more problematic.
Most, have paid little heed to the ICO, which handed only small amounts of real guidance.
One firm, speaking on condition of anonymity, was dismissive of the ICO’s attempts to ensure compliance, saying that a lack of communication did not help firms meet the regulations.
Having worked on digital campaigns with various SME channel companies Phile Ewen, digital director at PR firm Goode Communications, says that the companies have had to contend with various changes to the cookie rules.
Of most concern for many websites is the directive around analytics cookies – if a user refuses the use of all cookies, visibility on how they navigate a website will be lost, rendering tracking of visitor actions impossible.