Web cookie and privacy policiesGuest blog from Jeremy Nelson-Smith, Internet Marketing Expert.

The new cookie regulations came into force in May 2011. As a website owner you have until May 2012 to comply.

So, if you have a website for your small business, you will need to:

a) be aware of the regulations and
b) ensure you comply with them by May 2012.

These new regulations are designed to ensure that visitors to websites are made aware of how the site uses cookies and that their consent is obtained for the use of certain types of cookie.

Do you know what a cookie is?

Most of you reading this will know what cookies are but for those of you who may not, here’s the definition from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO):

A cookie is a small file, typically of letters and numbers, downloaded on to a device when the user accesses certain websites. Cookies allow a website to recognise a user’s device.

You can find out more on cookies at http://www.allaboutcookies.org

An update to the Cookie Regulations – some essential reading…

The regulations are complex and by no means completely clear, which is why the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, issued his ‘Half-term Report’ into how compliance with the regulations is going (or not), on 13 December. You can download a PDF copy of this from http://www.ico.gov.uk/news/blog/2011/half-term-report-on-cookies-compliance.aspx. Just click on the link in the fourth paragraph.

What you should do…

I strongly recommend that you read the report and talk to your web designer, web master or web/internet marketing consultant to ensure you comply with the law changes. If you don’t have any of these for help and want clarification about how the rules might affect you, then drop me an email at jns@theinternetspecialist.co.uk.

The good news!

For many businesses, particularly those using cookies mainly to collect anonymous website traffic data (through Google Analytics, for example), it is not going to be too difficult or expensive to comply. But comply you must!

Thanks for reading.