Cookie Information

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Cookie Law Explained

What is the 'cookie law'?


The 'cookie law' is a piece of privacy legislation that requires websites to obtain consent from visitors to store or retrieve any information on a computer or other web-connected device, like a smart phone or tablet. It has been designed to protect online privacy by making users aware of how information about them is collected by websites, and enabling them to choose whether or not they want it to happen.


It has been in effect since 26th May 2012 and is enforced by the UK's regulator, The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).


Who is responsible for complying with the 'cookie law'?


Some design agencies and developers have taken the stance that, as they don't own a site they build or support, they aren't responsible for compliance. But buried in the ICO guidance is the following text:


"Companies who design and develop websites or other technologies for other people, must also carefully consider the requirements of these Regulations and make sure the systems they design allow their clients to comply with the law. The Information Commissioner would expect that any development of new software, or upgrades to existing software, would take into account the need to ensure products are compliant with these rules and broader data protection requirements."


This suggests that whilst the responsibility to obtain consent to cookies lies with the client or site owner, the design agency or developer should also provide a solution to help obtain that consent.


What do cookies do?


'Good cookies' are vital to making a website work, but 'bad cookies' track what users do online and pass that data to third parties. It's mainly the 'bad cookie' type that has caused this change in cookie compliance.


'Good cookies': First-party cookies (cookies that are generated by your website) are typically helpful, aid functionality and are fairly low risk.


'Bad cookies': Third-party cookies (cookies that are generated by another website via yours) are the main concern. An example of a 'bad' cookie is those used in behavioural advertising, where they identify what you click on and tell advertising websites to display that type of product or service wherever you go afterwards.

Helping you comply with
the 'cookie law'


It's our responsibility to help our clients take a view on what is the most appropriate action for their website. Website cookies fall into one of the two following categories' and courses of action:


  • Use an opt-in or opt-out notification. If your site is heavy with third-party advertising, the safest bet is to request an opt-in from visitors via some kind of intervention, such as a "This site uses cookies: allow" notice on your homepage. However, be aware that you might find analytics numbers dropping. This doesn't mean people aren't visiting your site, but if they opt out they won't be included in your Google Analytics.
  • Use a simple notification when a user first visits your website. This is called 'Implied consent via notice'. If your site doesn't feature advertising and uses cookies for functional purposes, then you may be fully compliant if you have a cookie notice displayed clearly on your website referencing details on your privacy page. You will need to make sure this notice remains up to date when new features are added.

How does this affect Linksites™ users?


The basic Linksites™ Website Package does not use cookies*. Plus, since the package does not cater for advertising it's highly unlikely that any user falls into the first category listed above. However, all Linksites™ customers use Google Analytics and so fall into the second category. Therefore we have created the Cookie Info plugin to help you comply with the 'cookie law' where 'implied consent via notice is required'. This should also, in theory, covers those of you who have embedded third party functionality such as facebook like buttons, YouTube movies, iframe content and Google Maps as the cookies used by these aid functionality to the website.


*Our Members Area plugin uses 'good cookies' to maintain your login status.


Please note: This is purely our interpretation of the ISO Guidelines on Cookie usage. If you wish to read the full report you can download the ICO Cookie Guidance document. If you have any questions, please call us.


Call 01778 560788 to have the Cookie Info plugin added to your Linksites™ Website package