Paul Berwin of Berwins solicitors, a nationally-recognised specialist on IT law, is sounding the alarm on how cookies are used, and new rules about them. He explains:
“ We all love cookies; but the ones computers use are not so tasty; we are now used to websites which recognise us when we visit them, and know what we like – Amazon, for instance; but at the same time, they are gathering personal data about us which is of great value to them, and perhaps an intrusion for us.
“They do this by placing a small piece of computer code, called a cookie, on the hard drive of our computers – this has its upsides and its downsides. It helps our web experience, and it’s giving out our personal information. New rules say that we have to have agreed to accept cookies before they are placed – but because having to agree to every cookie would really undermine a lot that’s good about using websites, no-one, including the government, knows how to apply this.
“The Information Commissioners Office have therefore given a year’s grace to sort this out, but in the meantime businesses should check with their suppliers what cookies there are on their sites (it’s not safe to assume there aren’t any) and keep a close eye out so they can make changes once the web industry and government work out a solution that’s reasonable practicable.”