Cookies 2024

Cookies – are small chunks of code which help make websites work especially more complex ones. A typical job is they help count how many people have been to your website and which pages they looked at. For the many of websites on the internet that is about as far as they go. However, they can be used to remember details such as your login for that site. Saving you from having to put in your Username and Password every time you visit the site. Most people would see that as a benefit.

However, cookies can be used to take marketing to a higher level. Example you are going on holiday you are wondering where to park your car. You visit some potential options and then you notices as you browse the internet car parking services chase you around. This is re-marketing and relies on cookies.

Politicians are not keen on cookies because they can reveal that instead of working hard they have been shopping when they should have been working and possibly even worse uses of their working time.

To that end, at the end of February beginning of March those in power want all websites to have a clear Cookie Policy and allow you to opt out of receiving cookies. The poorly informed think that this will stop the head of IT knowing what they are doing in their offices. Ironically large organisations can see which sites their staff are viewing from their administration systems and do not need cookies to do that. This is a classic case of trying to fix a problem for politicians but is actually a pretty poor solution.

However, companies like Google and Facebook etc. are worried that they are seen as cash cows and are therefore want every website to have a popup telling users all about  Cookies. I am pretty certain that only a very small percentage of the population care about cookies but that has not stopped politicians wading in on this subject.

What Should You Do?

A rough summary is a website whose audience is expected to be in the UK should have a privacy statement, a terms of use and a cookie policy.

The privacy statement is essentially if we do know your name and address etc. then we will not be selling it to anyone else. If you are going to sell their personal details to others then you have to tell those people.

Terms of use is errors or omissions please let us know but this website does not form a contract between the company and you the user, however we have endeavoured to produce the content here in good faith.

Cookies page – is some text about Cookies on the website.

Does any of this matter if you do not have all three of these?

Probably if your site uses Google Adwords.

Not having a privacy page and a terms of use I would suggest will mark you down in the Google Algorithm as to who comes first in the results and who is last. Chances are you are not going to sell any details to others and having a terms of use of the website is only sensible.

For most businesses / organisations staying on the “right-side” of Google makes sense even if not necessarily a legal requirement.

How will all this work out for the future? Cookies came up as a big topic many years ago and there was a lot of fuss about them then it all died down. Google never forgets and complying makes more sense than resisting.

If you are really worried about being tracked in life the first step is to get rid of your mobile phone and anyone else’s who is around you, that is the biggest tracker.

These views are mine and I am not nor ever have been a practicing lawyer. Indeed until these issues have been to court there is a good chance that no-one will actually know how these rules will be interpreted in the UK. However, the Information Commissioner tends to err on “did you even try to comply?” – If you can honestly say yes, then I think their stances is, please fix whatever is the problem and we will leave it at that.

Signs Of Trying To Comply

Having a link to your Cookie Policy on every page similarly for Privacy Policy and Terms of Use of Your Website.

Having real data on who to contact if you have an issue.

Having some sort of popup box on your website where people can pick which Cookies they want.