EU cookie law coming to UK on 25 May

Websites will have to give users a choice when it comes to cookies from the end of May, as the UK Government gives the plans the go-ahead.

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New European Union (EU) rules ensuring websites give visitors a choice around cookies will come into force in the UK from 25 May.

The Government held its own review into the EU Electronic Communications Framework, which will see websites having to ask permission before recording surfer's activities online, as well as making sure targeted advertising is clearly pointed out as such.

It decided to implement the regulations in the exact way the EU outlined them, rather than adding anything extra, in an attempt to allow companies in the UK to "compete equally with the rest of Europe."

"The changes to the EU Electronic Communications Framework bring our regulatory framework up to date," said Ed Vaizey, the Government's communications minister.

"They will help ensure there is a level playing field across Europe."

However, the Government will be working with browser companies to ensure business websites aren't damaged by the new rules. It has also asked the Information Commissioner's Officer (ICO) to set out extra guidance for the targeted advertising rules, to give businesses other options.

"We recognise that work on the technical solutions for cookie use will not be complete by the implementation deadline. It will take time for meaningful solutions to be developed, evaluated and rolled out," added Vaizey.

"Therefore we do not expect the ICO to take enforcement action in the short term against businesses and organisations as they work out how to address their use of cookies."

This will be set out in front of Parliament in the near future to ensure the Government achieves the 25 May implementation goal made by the EU.

The ICO had already warned businesses to be prepared for the "challenge" the regulations would bring.

"Businesses and organisations running websites in the UK must wake up to the fact that this is happening," said Information Commissioner Christopher Graham.

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