You may have noticed that most websites these days ask you to confirm that you accept cookies. European Legislation made changes to the law last year requiring website operators to ask for permission from website users before placing certain types of cookie on their devices.
What are cookies?
Cookies are text files that contain information that is downloaded to your computer or phone when you visit a website. These cookies are then sent back to the website each time you visit the site or other similar website. For example, if you are filling in your address details on a website, you may find that your details pop up as you start writing. This is because a cookie has been stored from a previous occasion that you entered the details.
Cookies generally improve the user experience, for example remembering your settings, automatically logging you in to your social media sites or remembering your password.
On websites that display adverts, cookies will be used to target advertisements that may be relevant to you based on your previous
Categories of Cookie.
The ICC have identified 4 types of Cookie;
Category 1: Strictly Necessary Cookies – These enable you to move around the site, remembering pages you have visited, accessing secure areas after login and using shopping baskets or payment screens.
Category 2: Performance Cookies – These cookies collect information about visitors website use, for example using site statistics, google analytics etc. These cookies do not collect information about a user and information is anonymous and collated to give an over all picture eg: today your site had 20 visitors.
Category 3: Functionality Cookies – These cookies allow the site to recall choices made by a user such as a username, language settings, location etc
Category 4: targeting Cookies or advertising cookies – These cookies monitor your web browsing activity to deliver relevant adverts to you.
What does the new law mean to website owners?
Category 1: No consent is required for using strictly necessary cookies.
Category 2: Consent can be written into terms and condition – by using the site you consent to the use of these types of cookies.
Category 3: Consent can be written into terms and condition – by using the site you consent to the use of these types of cookies or a notice can be applied when a user makes changes to settings on a website.
Category 4: Specific consent must be sought for these types of cookies because they collect the most information about users.