The EU cookie directive, or the EU cookie law as it is more commonly known, is a law that came into effect at the end of May 2012 that aims to improve data privacy and online security by giving internet users more control over what data can be held about them. The cookie law also concerns how our personal data is being used and held on the websites we visit.
The law applies to all Member States of the European Union, but if a site based outside the EU is targeting visitors from inside the EU, they will also need to abide by the same laws.
The change in law will mean that practical changes need to be made to the website in order to implement an acceptable form of complied consent for their users. Cookies also play an important part in storing user preferences such as the language that the site is shown in, and storing the items that users have added to their shopping basket.
What are Cookies?
Cookies are small text files that websites save to your computer, allowing the services those websites provide to be more reliable, easy to use, and useful. The cookies that are stored on your device by a website, be it a desktop computer or a mobile phone, do not contain any information that can be used to identify you personally.
However, they do contain some information that is used by the website to improve your experience.
Here are some examples of how the information in cookies is used to improve the quality of service a website offers, or its general browsing experience, for you:
- Enabling cookies allows a website to recognise your device so you don’t have to give the same data multiple times during a single task;
• Having cookies enabled means that if you have already entered a username and password, you won’t need to do it again for every webpage that requests that information;
• If you suffer with reading difficulties, you may want to view text on a site with a larger font. Allowing cookies will enable the website to recognise you, meaning you won’t have to change font size every time you visit the site;
• To allow you to participate in interactive features of our service, when you choose to do so;