Legal expert places Mail Online and The Department for Transport website under spotlight for cookies failure

Mail Online and the online presence of The Department for Transport have all been highlighted as failing to comply with cookie law by an online legal expert.

Writing for The Drum, David Cook, solicitor and online expert for Manchester legal firm Pannone has taken a look at a number of the UK’s most popular websites, following the changes to Cookie Law, which came into effect at the end of May.

Failure to comply with the regulations could see companies hit with a fine of up to £500,000, although it seems that many online sites still fail to meet the regulations, despite a grace period being granted by the Government over a year.

Of the websites he reviewed, a month after the deadline for compliance had passed, Cook found that Mail Online, the most viewed website in the world, had apparently made no changes to its site whatsoever. He said that the site sought to rely on implied consent rather than gaining positive indication from users that they understand and agree to the new terms on cookie use.

The Department for Transport also comes under scrutiny, as one of 75 websites that the ICO has contacted asking for proof that it is moving towards compliance. Cook claims that despite this, the website “appears unchanged”, although it does have a cookie option on its site, amongst many other options.

In conducting his review, Cook also looked at the ft.com, as well as the websites for The Information Commissioner, Channel 4 and The Telegraph.

“It is therefore clear that many sites have either misunderstood the legislation or are flagrantly disregarding it. Regardless, when the ICO have publicly stated that only the most prolific offenders in the most serious of breaches will receive a fine, there currently appears little incentive to properly implement the changes when a token attempt will do for now,” states Cook in summarising his findings.

The full review will appear in the next edition of The Drum magazine, released 20 July.

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