What do cookies mean?
Cookies are small text files downloaded on a computer by websites that it visits. They are used for various purposes, from making a website work well to providing information to the site owners.
Need for cookie laws
Cookies track visitors and their browsing habits. But many people don’t want to get tracked by them. In addition, most companies use this information for marketing purposes, which might lead to unsolicited advertising and, thus, misuse of visitors’ information.
The EU cookie law
The privacy Directive is a European Union policy aimed at safeguarding the privacy and security of electronic communications across the continent. Advertisers and other third parties are limited in how they can use these communications. Limitations for monitoring and banning communications are included. It is applied to all electronic means of communication. The EU cookie law exempts the strictly necessary cookies from its provisions. It acknowledges that cookies are helpful, but they can affect privacy also.
According to this law, a website must:
- Make it obvious and easy for people to understand what cookies are and why they’re used on your site.
- Obtain prior permission from users to store cookies on their devices.
- Allow users to refuse their consent to the placement of cookies on their computers.
- Facilitate cookie disclosure, opt-out, and consent requests by making the methods accessible.
- If the content is utilized for a valid purpose, the user’s informed consent may be required to access the specific website content.
Options to comply with the EU cookie law
The EU regulators only established high-level requirements and not specific ones. Therefore, the way it complies is primarily up to the users. Nevertheless, the following are the standard options to ensure cookie privacy:
1# Get rid of your cookies.
It is easy to get rid of cookies on a simple and static website. However, it won’t be easy to do so for a website that is more than static HTML. In this case, you have to consider the sacrifice. For instance, suppose there is a blog, and thus comments are probably needed in its functioning. However, cookies are required for this. So, you have to wonder if you can lose comments by telling the visitors about cookies. And it will be no in maximum cases.
2# Add a pop-up or similar technology
Firstly, let the users know that cookies are being used. A pop-up, header bar, or similar technology can serve this purpose. The words need not be detailed, but there must be a warning that includes opt-out of cookies. The crucial point is that the pop-up or header bar must be placed for users’ consent or opt-out of cookies. Consent can be assumed if users ignore the warning.
3# Get implied consent
Display a short message to inform the users that the site is using cookies instead of forcing them to accept them. It can be done through a header bar or some non-obstructive method. If users remain on the site after a predefined time, it should be assumed as consent.
4# Add it to your Terms and Conditions
A pop-up may not provide the best user experience; many companies include cookie disclosure in their Terms and Conditions. Users have to grant access to cookies. Add the information in the T&Cs, and then you need a way to approve users of them. This can be done as a part of a sign-up or registration. It is non-intrusive and has a few caveats; this is a great way to protect cookie privacy.
5# Get a program to do it for you
Numerous applications and plugins are available to help you comply with cookie laws. They may be able to assist you in tasks such as identifying cookies on your website and informing users about consent.
To sum up, cookies are essential for a website to work or work well. But it raises many privacy issues, so many cookie laws have been introduced to aid this, with a major one being the EU cookie law. In addition, you can imply various methods to comply with the cookie law, like using pop-up technology, addition in the T&Cs, etc.