Blog Post - Gareth Elms, Dec 17 2014

Cookie Policy - tips for 2015

Cookie Policy - tips for 2015

The big question for website owners on cookie policy in 2015 is how best to inform customers and keep within the regulations.

The so-called EU ‘Cookie Law’ came into force in 2011 and at the time website owners were justifiably concerned. The law (e-Privacy Directive) said that end-users had to consent to cookies being stored on their local devices. In response, some websites implemented pop-ups for customers to check ‘yes’ to agree to cookies.

A year later, the UK authority responsible for policing the law ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) changed their stance and ruled that implied consent for cookies was acceptable. This means website users can be taken to have consented to the use of cookies on your site, so long as those users “understand that their actions will result in cookies being set”.1

This evolution in the law now sees websites generally using one of three designs: 2

  • Large banner, e.g. Santander:

  • Discrete banner, e.g. Debenhams:
  • Link from the Homepage, e.g. facebook

Salmon believe in most cases the best way to play by the rules is to simply have a link to your cookie policy on the site. Our thinking is:

  • Public concern about cookies is low. Econsultancy cites just 38 concerns about cookies raised on the ICO’s website between April and June 2014, compared to 47,000 complaints about marketing communications.3
  • Many of the ‘major websites with high traffic are using a link: Amazon, Facebook, Google.
  • Customers are so used to clicking off adverts on websites that the value of a banner rather than a link is debatable.
  • Companies such as Argos handle cookie policy with a link to it, and a content page that is managed by the business change team who update the cookie list after every relevant project.

Don’t think of a link to your privacy and cookie policy as a cop-out. A thoughtfully put together page accessed from a link, can neatly inform customers, and avoids interrupting the user experience, or annoying customers, with a pop-up or banner that in 99.9% of cases will be closed by the user. Selfridges cookie and privacy page is a great example:

The Cookie Law may have been heavily criticised (see http://blog.silktide.com/2013/01/the-stupid-cookie-law-is-dead-at-last/ as an example) – but our stance remains that if you use a customer link to the site policy for cookies and privacy, update it when necessary, then you keep your website to the ICO guidance without interfering with the user experience.

Note: This blog does not constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific advice should be sought about your individual circumstances.