New EU cookie laws - carrying more than calories
9 June 2011
'Cookies are very widely used, and their use as a marketing tool is increasing,' Ms Weedon said.
'Cookies are small files that are used by websites to retain information, about things such as a user’s preferences.'
'They are saved on the user’s computer, and are often used to remember things like the contents of a shopping basket.'
'With increasing concerns around privacy and personal information on the net, Australian Governments may consider following in the footsteps of the EU and introduce similar laws.'
She said the new laws have been introduced to meet European Union requirements and clarify the fact that businesses and organisations running websites are required to get consent from site visitors before storing cookies on their computers.
'These laws have been introduced in an effort to address privacy concerns and increase user choice,' Ms Weedon said.
'Under the previous system, and indeed the current situation in Australia, website operators were required to give information about cookies that were to be stored, but not required to gather explicit permission. The only exception to the new laws occurs in instances where the cookie is deemed necessary for the completion of a task that the user has expressly requested.'
Businesses in various parts of the EU have 12 months to comply with the new laws. If a business operates a website that is hosted outside the EU, such as in Australia it will need to be mindful of the new laws. It is not clear whether offshore website owners will be required to comply, but it is open to regulators in each EU country to require all websites (regardless of the hosting jurisdiction) to comply with the new rules.
For more information contact: Kristie Fankhauser on +61 7 3233 8876.