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Why Do Websites Deploy Cookies?
Cookies are small text files stored on a user’s device. For example, cookies could be stored on a user’s computer, phone, or tablet.
- gather information about website users;
- display targeted adverts to website users; and
- recall a website user’s preferences and enhance user experience.
Cookies are particularly significant from an e-commerce perspective, as they can remember the user’s items in their online shopping basket.
A website can deploy several different types of cookies for different purposes.
Let us explore some common examples of website cookies:
|Strictly Necessary Cookies
|Essential for the operation of your website.
|Help you recognise website users.
|Allow you to improve the way your website functions.
|Display targeted advertising to users.
There are various methods to help you conduct a cookie audit.
For example, you can:
- work with a website developer to audit your website and determine which cookies the website deploys; or
- use an online website cookie checker to check the cookies your website uses.
Call 0808 196 8584 for urgent assistance.
Otherwise, complete this form and we will contact you within one business day.
The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sets out rules around the use of electronic communications and cookies in the United Kingdom.
Generally, all websites deploying cookies will need to provide cookie information. This is a mandatory legal requirement.
As well as providing information on cookies, you will also generally need a user’s consent to deploy cookies on their devices (unless exceptions apply).
This Website Privacy Notice states how a business will deal with the personal information of its users.
You must provide clear information about cookies in a user-friendly format.
- which cookies your website uses;
- the purpose for using cookies;
- how long cookies last, including their expiration date;
- if any third parties will have access to the cookies; and
- guidance on cookie preferences and how users can opt out of their use.
Often, it is most user-friendly to present cookie information in a table format. This way, users can see the different types of cookies your website deploys and how you will use them.
Cookie law rules need to be understood and actioned by businesses. Cookie law compliance has recently become an area to which the ICO has paid closer attention. For example, the ICO has recently contacted businesses, asking them to address problems with their cookie banners.
As such, cookie law compliance is a high-risk area businesses must focus on and pay close attention to.
In addition to the requirement to provide information on cookies, various other rules apply. For example, you will need a process for obtaining user consent for using cookies. If cookies include personal data, additional privacy law rules will apply under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).
You should note that compliance with PECR and its rules on cookies is mandatory. The ICO can impose several penalties for non-compliance with PECR, including fines of up to £500,000.
Remember that your website is public-facing, and it is, therefore, easily accessible for both website users and regulators. As such, it will be easy for your customers and the ICO to see if your website complies with cookie law requirements.
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