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May 26, 2012

European Cookie Regulations Come into Force from 26th May,2012

Thousands of UK websites are expected to be in breach of a law that dictates what they can log about visitors.
European laws that define what details sites can record in text files called cookies come into force on 26 May. Cookies are widely used to customise what repeat visitors see on a site and by advertisers to track users online.
The regulations say websites must get "informed consent" from users before they record any detailed information in the cookies they store on visitors' computers.
Among websites that have complied with the law, getting consent has involved a pop-up box that explains the changes. Users are then asked to click to consent to having information recorded and told what will happen if they refuse.
The  EU Directive 2009/136/EC (PDF), known as the E-Privacy Directive. The broad legislation was first passed into European law two years ago, essentially forming a series of amendments to federal rules regarding electronic communications and data privacy.
One section of that directive — Article 5(3) — that applies to the use of data storage by websites. And for the most part, that boils down to cookies.
Member States shall ensure that the storing of information, or the gaining of access to information already stored, in the terminal equipment of a subscriber or user is only allowed on condition that the subscriber or user concerned has given his or her consent, having been provided with clear and comprehensive information… about the purposes of the processing.
The rule is already theoretically in force across Europe, but the truth is that it’s a complete patchwork. It comes into force in the U.K. on May 26, 2012.