Everyone’s been talking about cookies this week.
Initially, I just heard the word “cookies” and despaired. I’m a great baker but a complete failure at baking cookies, to the point where dogs turn their noses up at my peanut butter cookies (and they sniff their butts!).
Not those cookies, you cry, stupid baking loser, the internet kind!
Discovering that I was supposed to do something about the cookies on my website by the deadline of last Friday meant a mad rush to figure out what the heck this was all about! I wasn’t even running my own business this time last year, where was my year’s grace?
If you’re not EU cookie compliant yet or you’re a business in the EU and have no clue what I’m talking about, read on for a quick guide on how to get compliant quick!
Is your business based in the EU?
No? Nothing to see here, move along, here’s some great vegan cookie recipes instead. Mmmm, snickerdoodles, nomnomnom.
Yes? You have to let your visitors know about all cookies that might be running on your website. I looked into seeing if there were any exceptions to this depending on your business (i.e. I’m a freelancer, surely this doesn’t apply to little ol’ me?). I couldn’t find any exceptions to the EU regs – if you’ve found any, let me know!
I have no cookies!
Really? Are you sure? Really, really sure? Do a cookie audit on your site and really make sure (clear your browser’s cache, go to your website, check your browser security options et voila, a list of cookies your site uses).
What can I do about it?
Option 1 – Do nothing
I am a revoltingly honest human being so I personally wouldn’t recommend this option. There are those who say the ICO will never be able to investigate every website in the EU. Personally, that £500,000 potential fine isn’t something I want to take a chance on. If the law changes, then fine, but I’d rather be covered for the current law.
Option 2 – “Imply” that cookies are there
Have a link to your Cookie information on every page of your site, for example, in the header or footer of your site. I’ve seen quite a few of these as they adhere to the ICO’s 11th hour decision on ‘implied consent’. Take a look at pages 8-9 of the ICO’s guidance for further discussion on this. There’s a video of a delightful man on a dreadful stripey chair explaining the changes on the ICO website as well.
Option 3 – Opt-in/Opt-out
As an adherent of keeping everything simple and straightforward, this is the one for me. I’m not particularly interested in figuring out whether my site visitors understand absolutely everything about cookies, I’d much rather put it to them straight, for example:
This site uses [such n such] cookies, you can carry on or you can opt out and you’ll still get to view this website. However, some features may be affected.
If the UK regulations change in the future, if the EU law changes in the future, if and when the browser companies make opting out of cookies a lot simpler, at least I’m covering my back for what is currently the law. Yes, I will probably see a big drop off in website views through Google Analytics but there are upcoming alternatives to the Great Google.
I pick door number 3, Bob
I used Cookie Control to include an opt-in tag on my website – it’s simple, very unobtrusive and prettier than some solutions. It’s also FREE, a big plus for me as surely half the point of using WordPress is that it’s Open Source so I’m not a huge fan of paying for website solutions.
So that’s it – the entire task wasn’t as onerous as I thought and I can sleep more peacefully at night knowing that I continue to be a “goody two-shoes” (according to my other half) regarding anything legal.
How about you?
Was this quick list useful or are you none the wiser? Comment below but be aware that any digression into the pointlessness of it all/why are we in the EU anyway/blah blah EUcakes will be summarily removed .
Next time: Something much less dry – Inspirational women and sisterly networking (and no, Margaret Thatcher didn’t make the cut).
Scrumptious looking cookie photo by Vegan-baking with Creative Commons