UK websites face cookie law deadline
Published May 25 2012, 10:24 BST | By Andrew Laughlin
Many major sites have already started asking for "informed content" from visitors before saving cookies, which are pieces of personal data stored when users browse the web.
Online businesses claim that they need to save cookies to create a more 'customised' experience for users, but critics have said that it is a way of harvesting information and tracking user behaviour.
As of May 27, all websites must obtain permission from users before storing cookies. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) intends to launch a tool to help the public report cases of non-compliance.
Many major sites have already made the change, but it is expected that the vast majority of sites will not be ready by the deadline today, including many government websites.
The ICO is implementing new guidelines set by the European Union, meaning visitors must be informed about what cookies are being placed on their machine.
Sites such as the BBC and Reuters have now implemented systems allowing users to opt out of cookies the first time they visit the site after the change.
The ICO has said that it will not take immediate action (including an up to £500,000 fine) against sites that breach the rules, but would instead offer them guidance on how to make the change.
Speaking to the BBC
, ICO group manager Dave Evans said: "Up until now, if we received a complaint about your website we would point you in the direction of our guidance.
"Given that everyone has had a year [to comply with the new rules], we're going to shift from that kind of approach to one which will be very much more focused on those people who don't appear to have done anything and asking them, 'why not?'"> Twitter signs up to 'do not track' initiative> Facebook settles 'sponsored stories' lawsuit with users