Sadly, not a law about yummy biscuits (mmmm white chocolate and macadamia…). No, this is the recently mandated regulation designed to help users of websites know what information is being collected during their visit.
Website owners are being required to get positive acceptance from their visitors that they understand what information is being collected and agree to accepting cookies on their computers. This is a big thing to ask – often website owners themselves aren’t aware of what cookies their own websites might be using!
If you were one of the many who didn’t know, “cookies” are just little bits of code that are installed on the visitor’s computer for various reasons. Sometimes it’s to make a shopping cart work; sometimes it’s to allow advertisers to pick up information about sites you’ve visited so they can target adverts better; very often it’s to help website owners get the most out of their website by analyzing where site visitors are coming from and what they are looking at on the site. Ironically, some methods of keeping track whether you’ve positively agreed to allow cookies onto your computer use, er, cookies…
I resisted posting about the new cookie law straight away, wanting to see what the bigger sites are doing about it. It’s quite interesting!
Some sites are going as far as a pop-up message asking you to tick a box to agree to accept cookies. I’ve not found one of these yet that sends you anywhere differently if you just close the box or ignore it. Of course the next time you visit such a site, you should still be asked for the agreement, if you didn’t accept last time so it could get irritating.