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ICO shows how it’s done; no prosecutions for 12 months

26/05/2011 | Matthew Robins

The effective date for the extension of the amended EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive to the UK is today, and the industry has a chance to see how the regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office, has responded with its own website.

Icoscreenshot

They’ve chosen to display an information banner at the top of the page with a tick box to allow users to give consent. Interestingly, they are acknowledging that by the time you read the text of the cookie disclosure, they’ve already set one on your computer.

When you check the tick box and click “Continue”, the banner disappears and the site looks exactly as it did yesterday.

The use of a banner like this is less intrusive than any form of pop up, and is likely to be favoured by sites that seek to be compliant before the end of the grace period.

On the subject of the grace period, the ICO yesterday announced that they will allow website owners a full 12 months’ grace before bringing any prosecutions for non-compliance. They emphasise, however, that in the event of a complaint being received about a website before the end of the grace period, they will take a dim view of website’s owner if they can not show that they have a plan to achieve compliance.

The extended grace period is some good news, but this has been a chaotic process and there’s a long way to go before we are convinced that this Directive can be implemented without substantially disadvantaging UK website owners.