United Kingdom Acts To Regulate Cookies

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The United Kingdom government announced on 15 April 2011, its long-awaited response to its consultation on new laws for Web cookies and e-commerce. Duane Morris participated in the consultation process. The main body of the government's response is 75 pages long with further appendices attached. The consultation was triggered by a new European Union directive (the E-Privacy Directive (2009/136/EC) or the "Directive") introduced at the end of 2009. That new Directive means that each of the 27 EU member states need to update their laws to deal with issues like cookies and security breach reporting by 25 May 2011.

Cookies

In introducing the new law, Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, called the new cookies consent requirement one of the most significant changes that website operators must undertake to implement the Directive. Cookies are important to the online world as they power advertising, which in turn makes the free-to-air model of most websites viable. The government's response recognizes that cookies are now a part of Internet life, saying "the Internet as it is today would be unusable or severely restricted without their use." Vaizey said that legislation to adopt the new cookie rules will shortly be introduced to Parliament to comply with the 25 May deadline.

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