1st April 2019

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by: Admin

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Categories: News

Cookies and Privacy

Let’s start with the basics: what is a cookie? Well, we are not talking about biscuits in this blog, but rather an HTTP cookie. Wikipedia defines them as ‘a simple computer file made of text. The information stored in cookies can be used to personalise the experience when using a website. A website can use cookies to find out if someone has visited a website before and record information (data) about what they did on the website.

Cookies and Privacy

Legislation governs the usage of cookies, including the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (‘PECR’). If cookie data is not anonymous, then the General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’) and the Data Protection Act 2018 will also apply to the processing of the personal data.

If you have cookies on your website, you need to have a cookie policy in place explaining that there are cookies on the website, providing clear and comprehensive about the storage or access to the information and obtain the user’s consent to store the cookie on their device (regulation 6). This policy needs to be displayed on the first occasion when a person visits a website, but does not need to be repeated on each occasion that a visitor visits your website. The cookie policy should be clear, in easily understandable language.

Visitors to the website must have an option to positively and freely accept that cookies will be used. If the user wishes to do so they should be given the option to disable cookies.

The only exemptions to the rules are if either:

  • The cookie is for the sole purpose of carrying out a transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network; or
  • The cookie is strictly necessary to provide an ‘information society service’, which is to say a service over the internet requested by the user. This will only apply when the cookie is in fact essential to fulfil the request of the user.

You can carry out your own cookie audit, by taking the following steps:

  • Identify all cookies which are operating on your website;
  • Confirm the purpose or purposes of each cookie; and
  • Confirm whether this information is linked to any other information, such as usernames.

As very simple way of checking cookies on a website is by visiting a cookie checker site, such as https://cookiepedia.co.uk and just type in the website address of the website you wish to check.

There are different types of cookies, including first party cookies, third party cookies, session cookies and persistent cookies. Note that the legislation also applies to Flsh Cookies and apps generally.

If you would like us to undertake a cookie audit for you, or review your cookie policy, please contact us today.