The world according to pglewis

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EU Dilema .. To cookie or not to cookie that is the spyware…

Posted on | November 26, 2009 | 4 Comments

3rd Party Cookies taste nicestSo, the latest from the walled garden of “Europe” is that a new directive released last week requires that internet users consent to cookies before they are placed on their computers.. (Don’t worry, it’s not in effect until April 26, 2011, which does seem ages away, but blink and it’ll be hear before you know it..)

ehhh I hear you say…  It’s well known that true Europeans are a little uptight when it comes to their personal data being tracked, logged, downloaded or generally used in any way that means their use of the web becomes an experience that is actually pleasurable.

Shame on us Internet Geeks for not allowing Europe to act like a blind badger wandering around the British library (they’re on holiday in this example) without any signposts and looking for the latest Dan Brown book (George did it, honest).

Whats next?  People have been moaning about DM pieces (I’m being polite, let’s call it junk mail) for ages.  Shall we put a ban on anything that you have not expressly ticked a box to receive through the mail?

I digress…  So how’s this going to change the online marketing and affiliate space and what are people thinking…  Do we care?

Will affiliates just start to launch their own spyware solutions that ensure no cookies are dropped but people have to agree to except their advertising cookies for using?  Will businesses turn to putting money into offline marketing driving awareness through brand led activities?  Will Social media become even more important as a means for acquiring customers/sales?  Will Google make anyone who uses their search engine tick a box to accept all cookies?

The intelligent of us will start to plan ahead here as a just in case.  There are some serious holes in the legislation but if the company you work for are whiter than white and as risk averse as a policeman in a pub then you might, just might, have to rethink your companies marketing mix..

If you are interested, the real meat on the bones for the new legislation included in the press release states:

The Council adopted a directive amending legislation in force on universal service ePrivacy and consumer protection.

The directive adapts the regulatory framework by strengthening and improving consumer protection and user rights in the electronic communications sector, facilitating access to and use of ecommunications for disabled users and enhancing the protection of individuals’ privacy and personal data (3674/09).

Seems slightly weak in my view, but if you read the end section of the legislation, the implications become quite clear:

Third parties may wish to store information on the equipment of a user, or gain access to information already stored, for a number of purposes, ranging from the legitimate (such as certain types of cookies) to those involving unwarranted intrusion into the private sphere (such as spyware or viruses). It is therefore of paramount importance that users be provided with clear and comprehensive information when engaging in any activity which could result in such storage or gaining of access. The methods of providing information and offering the right to refuse should be as user-friendly as possible. Exceptions to the obligation to provide information and offer the right to refuse should be limited to those situations where the technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user. Where it is technically possible and effective, in accordance with the relevant provisions of Directive 95/46/EC, the user’s consent to processing may be expressed by using the appropriate settings of a browser or other application. The enforcement of these requirements should be made more effective by way of enhanced powers granted to the relevant national authorities.


4 Responses to “EU Dilema .. To cookie or not to cookie that is the spyware…”

  1. James Northcott
    November 27th, 2009 @ 1:19 pm

    Absurd is definitely the word.

    Is it fair to say that tracking could be affected too? Would a user consider that as “enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested”?

  2. Nick
    November 27th, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

    funnily enough i saw post by shoemoney on something similar – the FTC getting waaaaay too big government about affiliate marketing. I think this European cookie thing is just the beginning of a tide of leglisation. yes Big brother is here…

  3. Tweets that mention EU Dilema .. To cookie or not to cookie that is the spyware... | The world according to pglewis --
    November 28th, 2009 @ 12:03 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by pglewis, erkan soy. erkan soy said: RT @adwrighty: New European legislation – Users have to consent to cookies: Serious issues for ad industry? […]

  4. Rafal
    November 30th, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

    there is a new internet standard coming soon its IPv6 internet edition 😉 no one will need cookies there 😉

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