What are Cookies and why do you need to care? A guide to the new legislation for Marketing Managers

What are Cookies?

efficiently and perform certain functions. Due to their core role of enhancing/enabling usability or site processes, disabling cookies may prevent users from using certain websites.

Cookies are created when a user’s browser loads a particular website. The website sends information to the browser which then creates a text file. Every time the user goes back to the same website, the browser retrieves and sends this file to the website’s server. Computer Cookies are created not just by the website the user is browsing but also by other websites that run ads, widgets, or other elements on the page being loaded. These cookies regulate how the ads appear or how the widgets and other elements function on the page.

What changes have been made to the law?

The European Directive on which the UK Regulations relating to cookies are based has been revised. UK law has been changed to implement that changed Directive. A simplified version of the changes is described below.

The previous rule on using cookies for storing information was that you had to:

  • tell people how you use cookies, and
  • tell them how they could ‘opt out’ if they objected.

Many websites did this by putting information about cookies in their privacy policies and giving people the possibility of ‘opting out’. The new requirement is essentially that cookies can only be placed on machines where the user or subscriber has given their consent.