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You have may have read in the last few days about how on the 26th May the rules around cookie usage are changing.

What does this all mean?

Previously, you have had to give your visitors an option to opt out of storing their details in a cookie however now, they need to actively consent to having their details stored in a cookie.

The only exception to this rule is where the use of cookie is “strictly necessary”. One example of this is an e-commerce website where a user is “adding to basket” or “checking out” and this task is only possible should a cookie be stored.

If you are using cookies to make a site more attractive or collect statistical information – this would not been deemed necessary.

One of the key things to look at is how the data you are storing in the cookie, the more data that is potentially sensitive, the more important it is for you to tidy your site and reduce the amount of information stored.

What will happen if I don’t do anything?

If you don’t follow the new rules, the chances of anything happening initially is rather slim however it is something you should address certainly when deciding what updates to make to your site and when developing any new systems.

What we recommend

Our advice would be when developing applications and websites that require the use of cookies, ensure you ask users for their consent to store their data in a cookie as you will therefore be covering yourself. We would also recommend taking a look at the data you are currently storing in cookies and see whether or not you really need to store as much as you currently are storing.

The ICO has produced a document covering much of the above in detail, you can find this at: http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/library/Privacy_and_electronic/Practical_application/advice_on_the_new_cookies_regulations.pdf