Beware the Cookie Monster

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Beware the Cookie Monster

Facebook has its $100billion (£31billion) floatation on the New York stock market today and intends to grow by targeting advertising to mobile internet users which account for around 50% of Facebook’s 250million daily visitors. This makes for a formidable advertising audience who can be very specifically targeted because of the personal data Facebook holds on each of its users. Similar personal information is collected by small automated software programs called Cookies which are used on most websites, the technicalities of which are discussed in Matt Fitton’s previous blog.

The UK has now brought into force regulation for the collection and use of such personal data and this has been implemented by the snappy titled Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 which come into full force on 26 May 2012.

This means from 26 May any website which collects data from their visitors must obtain a specific permission from the user before collecting the data. It is not restricted to websites with advertising banners or companies selling products via their website it is likely to affect almost every website. Merely tracking visitors to your website requires the use of a cookie, so those using Google based web tracking analytics programs watch out.

Time will tell how the regulation will be policed and enforced but do not be surprised if the Information Commissioner comes down hard on companies flouting the regulations. Full guidance can be obtained from the Information Commissioners web site www.ico.gov.uk and take a note of their interesting interpretation of what is required to comply with the regulations when you visit their website.
For more information contact Craig Pattison, Associate Solicitor, Bakwells Solicitors, Derby. 01332 348791 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Date Added: 22 May 2012

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