The new law on cookies

All Mr Site websites using Mr Site software are compatible with this law.

What are cookies?Cookies are pieces of information that can be placed on a website visitor’s hard drive, in order to remember something about the user later. They are very commonplace and are used by websites for many different reasons. These are the most common:

Session cookies:

These allow websites to link the actions of a visitor during a browser session; for example they help a website remember what a visitor has placed in their shopping basket as they browse through a site. They expire after a session so they’re not stored longer-term. They are generally considered not to be intruisive of privacy.

Persistent cookies:

Stored on a visitor’s hard-drive in between visits, these allow the preferences or actions of a web visitor on a site – or even across different sites – be remembered. So for example these might remember that a visitor prefers prices on an online shop to be shown in a particular currency, or help a website target their banner advertising.

First and third party cookies:

First party cookies are cookies placed on a visitors’s computer by a website. Third party cookies are cookies placed on a visitors’s computer by a domain other than the one the user is visiting. If you’ve ever gone to an online shoe-shop and then the next day seen adverts on another website for exactly the products you were looking at, that’s because of third-party cookies.

What is the new law?

In 26th May 2011, a new set of rules were introduced by the EU regulating the use of cookies on websites. The British authority in charge of this area, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), gave all UK website owners a year to comply with these regulations.

The regulations state that cookies which are necessary for the running of a site – like those which allow a website to remember what is in a shopper’s basket or let a user login to an online account – are permissible.

However, for all other cookies, websites that use them will need to get the express permission of their visitors to do so.

What Mr Site is doing to comply with the new law:Our websites don’t use third-party cookies that pass on your visitors’ data to other sites, and generally we don’t use persistent cookies either. By and large, we only use cookies that are deemed strictly necessary for the running of the site – like cookies for online shops.