back to article ICO sets cookie-law flouters deadline - to open an HTML editor

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has set some website operators a deadline to begin efforts to comply with UK regulations that set out rules for the use of cookies. Dave Evans, the ICO's group manager for business and industry, said that some website operators had failed to "engage" with the watchdog about their use …


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  1. Liam Thom

    Crack down on this evil....

    Something must be done about all these sodding pop-ups warning us about the bleeding obvious.

  2. jb99

    An idea

    Can we get browser manafacturers to add an optional "X-Cookies-Please: yes" that sites can read and stop displaying the stupid do you want cookies things?

    1. Lockwood

      Re: An idea

      Yes, and apache will then ignore that on purpose because some browsers set it and never send you cookies.

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Consent must be "freely given, specific and informed"

    Has anyone seen a popup *anywhere* that says anything more than the syntactic equivalent of 'we use cookies, click here to say you're happy'?

    I'm still looking for the site that tells me which cookies are used, what they're used for, by whom they're used, and which allows me to accept or deny their storage on an individual and non-volatile way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: non-volatile way

      You mean, like this?

      "Click here to accept the cookie that records your refusal to allow us to set cookies"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Consent must be "freely given, specific and informed"

      Only the BBC. All the others, including some who should be setting an example (yes, I'm looking at you, Consumers' Association) merely tell me, as you say, that their site uses cookies.

      As far as I am concerned a site can drop as many of its own cookies on my system as they want. But not any third party cookies. And if I find they go so far as share my interests with advertisers via cookies (and I'm looking at you, John Lewis, despite what it says in your privacy policy) then their relationship with me is at risk.

  4. Arachnoid

    So just implimenting a pop up with a warning about cookies gets round a law with no teeth...........I dont know which one of them is more inept than the other.Talk about wasting tax payers money..........

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see WHY this is such a big deal? personally I don't care about cookies, because I clean them out regularly and anytime I don't want tracking there is the privacy option on the browser..

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Does anyone actually pay attention to the "do not track" header?

      1. Lockwood

        Roy Fielding does. (He lied)

  6. Conrad Longmore

    ICO = FAIL

    I've dealt with the ICO on several occasions when companies have been repeatedly abusing personal data. In one case I filed an FOI request to discover that the abuse had been going on for years and no enforcement action was taken, when any reasonable person would have expected the company to be fined.

    Enforcing this stupid cookie law is a waste of time. There are real abuses going on out there that the ICO are not pursuing, instead they are wasting their time on this stupid law that nobody at all seems to want. And how come other European countries don't seem to be so zealous?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ICO = FAIL

      Paraphrasing Sir Appleby, the Germans love it, the French will ignore it and the Italians and the Irish will be too chaotic to enforce it. Only the British will resent it.

      1. Richard Cranium

        Re: ICO = FAIL

        ...the Germans love it...

        I just had a quick look for high profile German companies with a Cookie alert on their websites, failed to find any.

  7. Julian Bond

    third option.

    "Broadly speaking, there’s two ways we go about this:" There is of course a third way. The ICO simply ignore it as it's a stupid law. But the whole idea of laws that are simply ignored and not enforced because they're stupid seems to be an impossible concept for UK civil servants and enforcement groups.

    1. Windrose

      Re: third option.

      "But the whole idea of laws that are simply ignored and not enforced because they're stupid seems to be an impossible concept for UK civil servants and enforcement groups."

      Oh, yes. Let's reinforce a culture in which un-elected civil servants can decide on their own which laws to ignore and which to enforce because said laws are "stupid". LET'S!

      I can only hope this monumental example of stupidity is meant as sarcasm.

      1. david 63

        Re: third option.

        Windrose: as long as they stick to ignoring laws and not making up their own I'll go along with it.

    2. Richard Cranium

      Re: third option.

      The ICO is supposed to police the law in respect of telesales calling numbers registered with the Telephone Preference System, potential fine of £5k per instance. Despite thousands of reports a day the ICO has NEVER fined anyone. I find sales calls much more intrusive than cookies, I have to shift my fat arse to the room where the phone is and answer in case it's something that matters (like my granny calling because she's had a fall and needs help) only to find I need to tell the low-life caller to F* off (not granny).

  8. ukgnome

    A better solution could be

    Telling the ISP that they need to mailshot their users informing them about cookies, and information on how to clear them from the device.

    Cookies are here to stay, whether you like it or not. They are not evil (apart from the evil ones)

  9. lurker

    380 notifications

    ...from internet users expressing concern about the use of cookies by websites.

    Well whoop-de-effeing-doo.

    What a colossal waste of everyone's time and money. Nobody else in the world is being so anal about this, why are we spending time and money addressing a non-existent crisis and making UK websites more annoying and therefore less competitive than everywhere else in the world. I thought the current thinking was to REDUCE red-tape?


  10. Mike Judge

    ico are a pain in the arse

    Websites are now much more annoying than they were before this crap came in. What the fuck were they thinking?

    I want a global opt in for cookies to say I don't give a crao about them, but I do get annoyed by stupid cookie bars I have to chase around the screen like here on el-reg when using a mobile browser.

  11. adam payne


  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It seems that now it is necessary for el Reg to insert mistakes into the Out-Law articles that they republish, just so they fit in better with the general standard of the writing on their site.

  13. Livinglegend

    Time to move all my websites to the US.

    I have kept them hosted here, but the UK will have to do without my finance from now on. Again the UK is maliciously targeted by the corrupt EU in another attempt to ruin our lead in IT, the politicos are too busy on their knees pleading for jobs on the gravy train.

    Cookie law, absolute rubbish, dreamt up on a wet Friday afternoon by a bunch of overpaid foreign jobsworths.

  14. Richard Neill

    Simple: session cookies OK; other cookies bad

    Why is this whole thing so complicated?

    1. Session cookies are the only things we really need(*), for advanced functionality such as login, shopping-carts etc - and these are already allowed via the exemption - no need to ask the user.

    2. Storing preferences between visits ["remember me"] also doesn't need a notification: clicking the button to "remember me" is sufficient implied consent. [though it doesn't hurt to have a privacy policy.]

    3. There's no legitimate reason to use any other form of cookie - 3rd-party analytics or tracking cookies. Sites that do use them deserve the ire of the ICO.

    (*) PHP has session.use_trans_sid as a workaround - it's possible to avoid session cookies, though the result is inelegant.

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