The heat has been turned up on cookies, in the technical sense of the word, and site-owners are about to be forced to follow the recipe or get out of the kitchen (so to speak). Essential Travel explores cookies and the new law that seeks to protect us from them, and explains how cookies are used on our site (only for necessity).
What is a cookie?
In simplest terms, a cookie is a small text file stored in a user’s browser for the purpose of tracking the user’s preferences and settings on websites. For example, when you sign in to a site and ask for your login details to be remembered for future use, a cookie is enabled to ensure that your information is stored. A cookie is also necessary for online shopping to keep a record of any items you put in your ‘basket’. These cookies are relatively unobtrusive and are considered necessary to ensure that sites run effectively.
Unnecessary cookies, however, also exist. These cookies are used to ascertain your online movements without your permission and, as such, infringe on privacy rights. These inessential cookies are of no benefit to users, but present a wealth of personal information to web-owners and advertisers. By tracking your preferences or movements between numerous sites, companies gain valuable information about you and can make use of this information to target you with specific advertisements. The information can also be collected and analysed by companies whose sites you visit, and there is nothing stopping them from sharing the results with any number of other sites... well until the recent development of the Cookie Law.
What’s the Cookie Law?
A new law has been introduced to govern all technologies that store information or attempt to gain access to information on your computer. Although it targets Spyware, viruses and cookies, people have started referring to it as the Cookie Law because of the immense impact it has on the latter.
What’s the impact of the Cookie Law?
The Cookie Law will have a direct effect on more than 92 percent of all EU organisations’ websites, which means that most sites will be forced to either change their cookie methods or break the law. As of May 2012, tens of thousands of organisations will face a penalty of £500,000 if the new restrictions are not met.