Last minute Cookie law change towards 'implied consent' will fail says legal firm Osborne Clarke

Ahead of Cookies laws changing in the UK on Sunday, some last minute amends were introduced, with website owners consent, or ‘implied consent’ from users, which one legal firm believes will fail.

The implementation of Cookie (ICO) law by the ICO over the weekend aims to heighten online privacy and included an updated and expanded Implied Consent section, which was the main change from the previous version of Guidance on the rules on use of cookies and similar technologies last year.

Stephen Groom, head of marketing and privacy law at law firm Osborne Clarke, said: “Previously ICO said that implied consent would be unlikely to work, now it says that implied consent is a valid form of consent.

“This is a striking shift in how ICO says it will tackle compliance. Just six months ago it said general awareness of the functions and use of cookies was simply not high enough for websites to look to rely entirely in the first instance on implied consent.

“Now it tells us that ‘implied consent has always been a reasonable proposition in the context of data protection law’ and that it remains so in the context of storage of information or access to information using cookies and similar devices.”

Groom continued: “Although this new, pragmatic approach is undoubtedly more business-friendly, ideally it would have been good to have had earlier visibility of this dramatic change. It also remains to be seen whether this puts the UK out of step with Brussels and most other EU states.”

It is thought that the update was made as it was recognised that most websites would not comply with the regulations put in place, despite the Government offering a year-long grace period for companies, that has now come to an end.

Non-compliant website owners face a fine of up to £500,000.

See here for some top tips on complying with Cookie Law.

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