×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK "No Tracking Law" Now In Effect

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the no-cookies-for-you dept.

Privacy 208

Fluffeh writes "The British Gov might have more cameras up on street corners than just about anywhere else in the world, but it seems that the Gov doesn't want anyone else stepping on the privacy of their folks. In what the media have dubbed the 'Cookie Law' all operators of websites in Britain must notify users of the tracking that the website does. This doesn't only cover cookies, but all forms of tracking and analytics performed on visitors. While there are potential fines up up to 500,000 pounds (Over US$750,000) for websites not following these new rules, the BBC announced that very few websites are ready, even most of its own sites aren't up to speed — and amusingly even the governments own websites aren't ready."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

208 comments

do as I say, not as I do. (4, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#40133503)

Been hearing this my whole life.

Re:do as I say, not as I do. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133523)

You have the voice of god in your head!

Re:do as I say, not as I do. (-1, Troll)

I disagree I rape. (2648987) | about 2 years ago | (#40133533)

About eight months ago, I was searching around the internet to find out why my computer was running so slowly (it normally ran quite fast, but had gradually gotten slower over time). After a few minutes, I found a piece of software claiming that it could speed up my PC and make it run like new again. Being that I was dangerously ignorant about technology in general (even more so than I am now), I downloaded the software and began the installation. Mere moments after doing so, my desktop background image was changed and warnings that appeared to originate from Windows appeared all over the screen telling me to buy strange software from an unknown company in order to remove a virus it claimed I had.

I may have been ignorant about technology, but I wasn't that naive. I immediately concluded that the software I'd downloaded was, in fact, a virus. In my rage, I broke numerous objects, punched a hole in the wall, and cursed the world at the top of my lungs. I eventually calmed down, cleared my head, and realized that the only remedy for this problem was a carefully thought out plan. After a few moments of pondering about how to handle this situation, I decided that since I barely knew how to properly handle a computer, I should turn it over to the professionals and let them fix the issue.

Soon after making the decision, I drove to a local computer repair shop and entered the building with my computer in hand. They greeted me with a smile and stayed attentive the entire time that I was explaining the problem to them. They laughed as if they'd heard it all before, told me that I'm not the only one who has trouble operating computers, and then gave me a date for when the computer would be fixed. Not only had they told me that the computer would be completely repaired in at most two days, but the price for their services was surprisingly low, and to top it all off, they even gave me advice for how to avoid viruses in the future! I left the building feeling confident in my decision to seek professional help and satisfied knowing that such kind-hearted people were the ones doing the job.

The very next day, I received a phone call from the computer repair shop whilst I was at a local library researching computer viruses. I had stumbled upon a piece of software that appeared to be very promising, and I was about to do more research on it, but seeing as how I required my computer as soon as possible, I decided to put the matter on hold. Upon answering the phone and cheerfully greeting the person on the other end, I was greeted with a high-pitched shriek. Startled, I asked what was wrong. A few moments passed where nothing was said, and suddenly, the person on the other end said to me, in a low voice oozing with paranoia, "Come pick up your computer." They hung up immediately after saying that, and I couldn't help but notice that they sounded as if they were on the verge of tears. I briefly wondered if it was due to stress from work, and then drove to the computer repair shop to acquire my computer.

I was positively dismayed upon entering the building. The inside of the computer repair shop looked nothing like the image from my memories. There were broken computer parts scattered throughout the room, ceiling tiles all over the floor, blood splattered in every direction I looked, and even a human toe on the ground. After processing this disturbing information, I began panicking and frantically looking around for my computer. I spotted an employee covered in blood sitting up against the wall, and noticed that his wrists had been slashed open. Thinking quickly, I ran up to him, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, shook him around, and began screaming, "Where is it!? Where is my computer!?" After a moment of silence, he passed away, completely shattering my expectations. "What a meaningless individual," I thought.

Enraged, I tore the building up even further than it already had been in my desperate search for my computer. Eventually I discovered a door leading to an area that was normally only accessible to employees. I entered without hesitation and was met with a long, skinny hallway that a single person would have trouble moving about freely in. I proceeded down the dark hallway and bumped into the body of an employee hanging from a rope tied to something on the ceiling. I screamed, "Not only do you people have the gall to allow my computer to be endangered, but even in death you intend to block my path!?" After finally managing to push aside the worthless obstacle, I traveled down the hallway and came to a small black door. I entered without a moment's notice, and in the middle of the dark and dreary room, I spotted my computer; it was completely unharmed. With a sigh of relief, I picked it up, left the building, and drove home as if nothing of importance had occurred there.

Upon returning home and hooking up the computer (whilst wearing a cheerful expression the entire time), I, to my horror, discovered that the computer hadn't been repaired. There was nothing in the world that could have contained my fiery anger at that point. I broke almost every single one of my possessions, smashed all the windows on my house, physically abused my family, and then drove back to the computer repair shop to defile the dead lumps of meat that had failed to carry out the task I had given them. After realizing that I shouldn't be meaninglessly wasting my time with such worthless pieces of trash, I remembered the piece of software that I'd discovered earlier. With renewed confidence, I blissfully visited the local library, downloaded the software, and took it home to install on my computer.

I knew. I knew, even before installing it, that MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] would be my salvation. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] would come through with flying colors where no one else could. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] would completely, totally, and utterly eradicate the virus in the most merciless, efficient way possible. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] was not a piece of software that could fail to meet my exceedingly high expectations. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] would not fail me like all the other imbeciles had. At that point, it could be said that I could genuinely see into the future and be accurate in my predictions. I gleefully began installing MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] and laughed like a child at the thought of finally being able to attain revenge upon the virus that had shamed me so.

I was absolutely in awe of MyCleanPC's [mycleanpc.com] wonderfully efficient performance. Without a single issue, MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] utterly annihilated in moments the virus that many others had failed to remove after hours of attempts. I let out a victory cry and swore to never turn to any "professionals" to fix my computer ever again. Once again, I was able to predict the future. I knew that I would never need any worthless "professionals" again as long as I had MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] by my side.

MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colors where no one else could! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my system, and increased my speed! I couldn't believe how much overclocking my gigabits and speed were doing! Even restructuring the BIOS wouldn't allow for the miraculously high degrees of efficiency that MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] allowed me to attain.

I highly and wholeheartedly recommend that you use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] if you're having any computer troubles whatsoever. In fact, even if you're not having any visible problems, I still recommend that you use MyCleanPC. [mycleanpc.com] There could be dormant or hidden viruses on your system, or problems that MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] could easily and efficiently resolve. Just by using MyCleanPC, [mycleanpc.com] your gigabits will be running at maximum efficiency, and at last, you'll be overclocking with the rest of us! What are you waiting for!? Get MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] today!

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Re:do as I say, not as I do. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133571)

I can't believe I wasted my time reading that. That was positively the most mind-numbing thing I've seen on slashdot. I thought I was on 4chan for a minute there. However, it was slightly entertaining and you got me to respond, so well done.

Re:do as I say, not as I do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133715)

This proves that corporations control government. Oh, wait...

Re:do as I say, not as I do. (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#40134111)

In this case, it seems to be more a case of "Do as the European bureaucracy says, not as we do, but our guys won't really go after you if you're being reasonable about the spirit of the rules anyway, as long as you don't take the piss."

Re:do as I say, not as I do. (3, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | about 2 years ago | (#40134153)

Silly to post something like this when European obviously aren't around to debunk the crap in TFA.

It's not about the British Government not wanting others to snoop on their citizens; the no cookie law is a European mandate and all member nations are required to implement it within the next few years.

And yes, most sites are going to have some real trouble implementing this.

Re:do as I say, not as I do. (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 2 years ago | (#40134167)

I'd like to know which site they are referring to, as it seems there are plenty of cookies which are allowed to be used without any notice at all. It would appear, so far, this is just more "lol! stoopid government!" stuff. It would help you to check this stuff out before leaping on the bandwagon and making it worse.

Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133515)

There sure a bunch of dumb motherfuckers in Europe. Obligatory: by reading this post, you agree to accept the embedded tracking cookie. Ha ha, dumb fucks.

Re:Idiots (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133539)

It's true, Europe is the worst country in the world.

Re:Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133613)

You remind me of how fucked up and retarded Europeans are. To wit: when the dumb fucks want to brag about something, it's a "European" accomplishment. Doesn't even matter if the shit happened in Hungarian and you live in Norway, you somehow want to take credit. But when some bullshit goes down, like this shit here in the UK for example, suddenly Europe is back to being a group of completely unrelated political entities again. Fucking hypocritical fuckwads.

Re:Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133651)

You could say exactly the same thing about Americunts.
USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! DEEERP!

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133679)

This is why I left slashdot and only come back once in a blue moon.

The community here has died and been replaced by these people.

Re:Idiots (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133681)

Simple:

If it happens in the UK it can't be a "European" thing, since the UK barely belong to the EU. (Norway doesn't belong to the EU either by the way).

If it happens anywhere else in the EU, be it Hungary, Greece, France, Germany, Belgium or whatever, then it's either an European accomplishment or European shame.

Just remember very few people consider the UK as a full EU member and you'll understand better.

Re:Idiots (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 2 years ago | (#40133911)

Eh? The UK is a member of the EU. That's that. Being in the EU is one thing - membership in the EU. Once that's achieved, the country is a "full" member of the EU. I seriously don't know what you're on about.

Re:Idiots (0, Redundant)

Marc Madness (2205586) | about 2 years ago | (#40133991)

I believe the UK still use their own currency.

Re:Idiots (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40134033)

Membership in the EU or the EEC is not the same thing as membership in the Euro (i.e. the currency). The UK is very much part of the EU despite not using the Euro.

captcha: "informs"
Fancy that.

Re:Idiots (-1)

1s44c (552956) | about 2 years ago | (#40134205)

Membership in the EU or the EEC is not the same thing as membership in the Euro (i.e. the currency). The UK is very much part of the EU despite not using the Euro.

And despite ignoring EU laws over and over again. Google prisoner voting rights.

Re:Idiots (1, Informative)

Angostura (703910) | about 2 years ago | (#40134261)

You might like to Google the relationship between the European Court of Human Rights and the EU.

In the meantime, I'll give you a hint - the ECoHR is not an EU body.

Re:Idiots (1, Troll)

Gonoff (88518) | about 2 years ago | (#40134067)

Our press and conservatives required that this happen. Our press is controlled by the same person that controls your Fox "news" and our conservatives are so right wing that they are the most right-wing mainstream party in Europe.

Both of these nasty groups are overjoyed at the financial problems in the Eurozone.

Re:Idiots (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#40134171)

Our press and conservatives required that this happen.

Well, them and a strong majority of the British public consistently wanting to stay out of the Euro [wikipedia.org] . But this is Slashdot, so let's not let facts get in the way of a good rant.

And of course, jokes about similarity aside, the Tories haven't actually been the ones running the show since Tony Blair's first New Labour administration took office in 1997. The Conservatives have been the more powerful party in the current coalition since 2010, but for some reason, in the past couple of years no-one from any major UK party has been suggesting that we join the Euro any time soon.

our conservatives are so right wing that they are the most right-wing mainstream party in Europe.

I don't know how true that is, but in any case, the politics in most countries in Europe is rather strongly left-leaning by global standards, in much the same way that both the main parties in the US would be regarded as quite far to the right on a global scale.

Both of these nasty groups are overjoyed at the financial problems in the Eurozone.

Yes, because what we really need right now is for some of our closest neighbours and major trading partners to suffer severe financial problems that will keep our own economy down for a few more years without anything we can do about it. That will definitely help to advance the interests of both of the groups you mentioned, and of course to help the Conservatives to win the next general election outright as they presumably want to.

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40134213)

our conservatives are so right wing that they are the most right-wing mainstream party in Europe.

...and yet on that political axis still fall far short of the US Republicans.

And thankfully the CoE influence on them does not determine policy in anything approaching the same degree as more extreme Christianity does the Republicans.

Re:Idiots (1, Interesting)

1s44c (552956) | about 2 years ago | (#40134177)

Eh? The UK is a member of the EU. That's that. Being in the EU is one thing - membership in the EU. Once that's achieved, the country is a "full" member of the EU. I seriously don't know what you're on about.

The UK is in Europe, however it doesn't use the Euro and people in the UK consider Europe to be 'them', not 'us'.

The UK government happily breaks EU laws on stuff like DNA retention and tobacco imports every day. People take the UK government to the European court and win nearly every time yet the UK carries on ignoring EU law.

Re:Idiots (1)

Angostura (703910) | about 2 years ago | (#40134305)

Where to start on this post. Let's kick off with DNA retention. Firstly it was the European Court of Human Rights that ruled on this - and that court is not an EU body, and has nothing to do with the EU. Secondly the UK Supreme Court has also ruled against the UK government on this one, and the government is **still*8 dragging its feet, so by your definitions, presumably the UK is not part of the UK since the UK government dissed a UK court.

Tobacco imports? As far as I can tell the UK is not breaching any elements of EU law on imports and indeed last time it came up the EU courts ruled in the UK's favour http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2006/nov/24/news.retail [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40134229)

That of course doesn't happen in the US. When some folks in Texas want to have creationism in their schools, there is not a single american out there that would suggest its only Texas being the retards.
I mean, with 9/11 you guys sure tried your very best to make every american feel that loss. Looking at the amount of taxpayers cash that went into it, afterwards.
But I still wouldn't call that the same.

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133757)

It's true, Europe is the worst country in the world.

Europe is actually a continent.

Re:Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133775)

No, it's a cuntinent. Get it?

Re:Idiots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40134103)

Bahaha! Soooo many fucktards on /. today! Its amazing. You, sir (or madam), deserve a back-handed slap across your face and a kick in the groin.

Re:Idiots (1)

They'reComingToTakeM (1091657) | about 2 years ago | (#40133927)

Europe is a continent, not a country

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40134075)

Sound off the sirens! We have an idiot who doesn't understand sarcasm! ALERT! ALERT! Stupid-ass people are afoot!

Re:Idiots (1)

FreedomOfThought (2544248) | about 2 years ago | (#40134113)

I wasn't sure how to moderate this. I'm pretty sure its a super-effective troll. Yet some part of me suggests you might actually be serious so I opted out of wasting a mod point.

You maniacs! You blew it up! (5, Insightful)

jholyhead (2505574) | about 2 years ago | (#40133519)

This is another example of what happens when you let computer illiterate politicians have a say in technology regulations

To be fair, the ICO has proven itself utterly inept when it comes to enforcing its own regulations - I can't see them doing any better with this idiocy.

Re:You maniacs! You blew it up! (3, Interesting)

bbn (172659) | about 2 years ago | (#40133661)

Why is killing ad-tracking "blowing it up"? Are you sure it is not you that is illiterate? Try reading up on the subject...

They did not ban cookies. They are banning tracking. Not the same thing.

Cookies are ok when necessary for the functionality of the website. Login cookies, webhops and so on are all ok.

Re:You maniacs! You blew it up! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133853)

They are not banning anything. They are requiring notifying user about tracking. Not the same thing.

If this means that every site just shows something like "We use cookies to give you best experience and provide relevant advertising. We also use few analytics scripts", people will simply start ignoring it just like they're clicking through EULAs now. After that, websites could even easily get people to consent to "... and also we'll watch you while you touch yourself. Here, we warned you" - most won't even notice.

Re:You maniacs! You blew it up! (1)

bbn (172659) | about 2 years ago | (#40134139)

People need to actively accept that you are tracking them. Just showing such text somewhere is not enough. Few sites are going to want people to read terms and require people to click accept before giving access to the site. Also you need to provide a way for people to opt out again (required).

You need to be specific about each cookie and what you are going to use it for. If you ever add another cookie or change the use of the cookies, you need to ask permission again. Text such as "we use a few analytics scripts" is not enough. If you are using a third party tool like Google Analytics, you need to specify everything Google is going to use the data for. Since Google wont say at this point, you simply can not in any legal way use Google Analytics at this point.

Re:You maniacs! You blew it up! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#40134251)

People need to actively accept that you are tracking them. Just showing such text somewhere is not enough.

Actually, the ICO seems to have pulled a complete U-turn with 48 hours to go, and now says that implied consent can be enough [ico.gov.uk] .

Whether that will stand up to the seemingly inevitable legal challenge in the European courts remains to be seen, but I suspect even the ICO think this is a dumb law behind the scenes, and their language has been softening substantially in recent weeks relative to their early advice.

Re:You maniacs! You blew it up! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133975)

No. They're not. A good starting point for "reading up on the subject" is the law, for example, and if you read this section:

a person shall not store or gain access to information stored, in the
terminal equipment of a subscriber or user unless the requirements of
paragraph (2) are met.
(2) The requirements are that the subscriber or user of that terminal equipment-
(a) is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of
the storage of, or access to, that information; and
(b) has given his or her consent.

Regulation 6 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) *

you'd realise that this applies to *all* cookies. The only questionmark at the moment is whether signing up for a site indicates "implied consent".

* taken from http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/privacy_and_electronic_communications/the_guide/~/media/documents/library/Privacy_and_electronic/Practical_application/cookies_guidance_v3.ashx

Re:You maniacs! You blew it up! (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 2 years ago | (#40134149)

No, it applies only to cookies which are not exempted. You should read the very document you posted, as it has it all in there.

Re:You maniacs! You blew it up! (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#40133769)

i think its pure genius...

the government doesn't have to prosecute, but if they're feeling a bit strapped for cash, they can just look up a database of offenders against this tracking cookie regulation and... chi-ching... easy money!!!

...other countries will be sure to follow suit soon enough

Re:You maniacs! You blew it up! (3, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | about 2 years ago | (#40134253)

Fascists don't want money, they want power. Money will just turn up as offerings from servants. The fascist dream is an abhorrent crime with a heavy punishment that everyone is guilty of.

Anytime you don't seem subservient enough they lock you up for this crime whilst ignoring everyone else who did nothing to get their attention.

1984 called it 'thought-crime'. The UK government recently re-branded it 'terrorism' and removed the requirement to have any evidence whatsoever. Maybe they want to expand their list of criminals to everyone with a website.

Not the politicians (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#40134131)

It is the Civil Service. It has been commented, both by a retiring senior civil servant and an experienced Minister, that the Civil Service is full of people with dumb-as-a-very-dumb-thing ideas. The usual objection is that the proponents assume that everybody is exactly like them, and so once a law is passed people will just automatically obey it, and once an agency is set up it will instantly work perfectly.

Normally these people are kept in warm environments with soft lighting so they can't hurt themselves and cannot be released into the environment because of the damage they would do. But when times are difficult Ministers are looking for good ideas and they get presented with the loony schemes. Inexperienced Ministers - and the current lot are almost all very inexperienced indeed - may get taken in, and so these schemes see the daylight.

Mrs. Thatcher, long may she rot, at least realised that the privatisation of streets and the railways were loony ideas too far. The next Government was inexperienced enough to fall for rail privatisation (unfortunately writing about at least one of the proponents of this here could result in a libel suit).

I do sometimes wonder if, in fact, a number of our Eastern European immigrants are former Stasi members under fake passports who are running the Home Office. But that might be unfair to the Stasi.

WIll be very fun to see Gizmodo.co.uk warn... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133521)

because atm, ghostery reports 10 diffrent tracking entities.

Pretty much emotional stageplay (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133529)

At the same time as this happens across all of Europe, they roll out INDECT and the Data Retention Directive.

How about I follow each of the MEPs around and write down on a list everyone they speak to, when they speak and where, over the course of 6 months? That would probably mark me as a terrorist.

Its an EU directive (5, Informative)

stiggle (649614) | about 2 years ago | (#40133543)

While the British government might have implemented, the law comes from the EU.
It actually came in last year and websites were given a year grace to enable the features required.
Its that grace period which has expired, not that the law has now suddenly been introduced.

Re:Its an EU directive (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40133611)

While the British government might have implemented, the law comes from the EU.

It will be interesting to know if there was much gold plating [wikipedia.org] though.

Re:Its an EU directive (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#40133839)

I wouldn't expect so, avoiding gold plating (or claiming to) seems to be a particular hobby horse of the current bunch of clown in Westminster.

Anyway, enforcement is what matters, and given the utter contempt in which the toothless watchdogs at the ICO are held by the industry, I doubt they'll be falling over themselves to comply with this latest dictat.

Re:Its an EU directive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133665)

The UK government is very selective about EU laws it wants to obey. Usually the laws a repressive, so the government can say "oh noes, teh evul EU made us do it, honest".

Don't blame EU, here's the directive (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40134269)

Unless I'm mistaken, the relevany EU document is this [europa.eu] and the relevant paragraph is:

Third parties may wish to store information on the equipment of a user, or gain access to information already stored, for a number of purposes, ranging from the legitimate (such as certain types of cookies) to those involving unwarranted intrusion into the private sphere (such as spyware or viruses). It is therefore of paramount importance that users be provided with clear and comprehensive information when engaging in any activity which could result in such storage or gaining of access. The methods of providing information and offering the right to refuse should be as user-friendly as possible. Exceptions to the obligation to provide information and offer the right to refuse should be limited to those situations where the technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user. Where it is technically possible and effective, in accordance with the relevant provisions of Directive 95/46/EC, the user’s consent to processing may be expressed by using the appropriate settings of a browser or other application. The enforcement of these requirements should be made more effective by way of enhanced powers granted to the relevant national authorities.

In other words, the directive says that when a service tracks users, it should provide clear and comprehensive information about that in as user-friendly way as possible... And specifically says that methods such as users being able to select this in browser settings are fine... and that you don't need to explicitly tell them that you track them the way they expect such a service would track them.

Not confined to UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133549)

The same measures have been installed in Germany two days ago.
I think it's another stupid EU thing obligatory for all countries within the EUSSR.

The law itself is pointless as you don't have to warn if the cookie is necessary for the functionality of the website.
In other words : always needed, never need to warn.

Re:Not confined to UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133579)

The law itself is pointless as you don't have to warn if the cookie is necessary for the functionality of the website.

So login cookies are ok then?

Re:Not confined to UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133635)

Apparently : yes.

Re:Not confined to UK (1)

bbn (172659) | about 2 years ago | (#40133637)

Yes login cookies are ok. So are cookies for implementing an online webshop and so on.

It is Google and their ad-tracking that is getting run over by this. Good riddance.

Re:Not confined to UK (2)

Vulch (221502) | about 2 years ago | (#40133641)

Actually, you *do* have to warn and the definition of "necessary" is quite tight. Login cookies are fine providing there has been a warning as the act of logging in then counts as informed consent.

Re:Not confined to UK (2)

jholyhead (2505574) | about 2 years ago | (#40133631)

"you don't have to warn if the cookie is necessary for the functionality of the website."

Not necessarily true, at least in the UK interpretation of the directive. There are some very thin exemptions. That said, logins and stuff are easy - just add boilerplate that says 'By logging in you are blah blah, cookies, blah blah, first born child, blah'

Re:Not confined to UK (2)

Gonoff (88518) | about 2 years ago | (#40134083)

It is actually a very good idea. You and I might be capable of controlling what tracking cookies we allow. Most people are not.

It "might", but it doesn't. (5, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#40133575)

The British Gov might have more cameras up on street corners than just about anywhere else in the world

It doesn't, though. The whole "eleventy billion cameras in the UK" thing was made up by one of the screaming right-wing tabloids a few years ago, by counting all the CCTV cameras in about a half-mile stretch of the main street of a fairly scummy part of London, and multiplying by the total length of all the roads in the UK. So, the figure is probably accurate *if* you assume that every single road in the UK has lots of off-licenses, bookmakers, cheque cashing centres, "we buy scrap gold" shops the like - but, it isn't. For the figures to be correct, you'd have to have something like one camera every 60 metres or so on *every single road* right down to farm tracks.

Most cities in the UK have no more CCTV than cities in the US - and if you think US cities don't have CCTV then I wonder what you think CCTV cameras look like...

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133671)

The British Gov might have more cameras up on street corners than just about anywhere else in the world

It doesn't, though. The whole "eleventy billion cameras in the UK" thing was made up by one of the screaming right-wing tabloids a few years ago, by counting all the CCTV cameras in about a half-mile stretch of the main street of a fairly scummy part of London, and multiplying by the total length of all the roads in the UK. So, the figure is probably accurate *if* you assume that every single road in the UK has lots of off-licenses, bookmakers, cheque cashing centres, "we buy scrap gold" shops the like - but, it isn't. For the figures to be correct, you'd have to have something like one camera every 60 metres or so on *every single road* right down to farm tracks.

Most cities in the UK have no more CCTV than cities in the US - and if you think US cities don't have CCTV then I wonder what you think CCTV cameras look like...

Slash-groupthink at its best. This is a group that will argue for hours over each subclause of copyright law, but will never question statements like this. (That and figure out that the UK != England).

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40134187)

If only I had modpoints for this and the post to which it refers...

I'm tired of this meme. Can we start another eg take the murder rate per square mile in the worst areas of an American city and extrapolate it over the land area of the US? Admittedly it would equate to killing the world's population several times over but what a great headline cliche it would make.

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133677)

Whatever. The cameras shouldn't exist anyway.

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133901)

Businesses don't have right to monitor their property?

Keep in mind that in London businesses often own the square of pavement outside their shop and are responsible for keeping it clean - therefore putting up a camera to watch that area is understandable.

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133961)

Businesses don't have right to monitor their property?

Not when I constantly end up being recorded without my consent. It used to be that I could go outside without fear of being recorded everywhere I went. Not so anymore. Even someone occasionally overhearing you is preferable to this. At least they don't have perfect memories and aren't everywhere at once.

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 2 years ago | (#40134199)

Then don't go in to "public", stay in "private". That's why we have those two words. Do you start to scream when someone gazes at you in passing? Do you go everywhere with a balaclava on because you hate having your visage burned on to retinas wherever you go? It sounds like you're a paranoid nutcase. I'd pay good money to have you monitored by CCTV because you sound like a lunatic.

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#40134185)

Why is it so hard for people to prefix their own opinions (however widely-shared they may be) with "I think..."?

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133727)

And don't forget that it's always "the government", not "a wide array of independent police forces, highway traffic organisations, private shopping centre security outfits, individual shops and property owners".

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133795)

That's like disputing how many times someone's been ass-raped. The number fucking hardly matters if it's anything greater than zero. But you're the typical bent-over-with-ass-cheeks-spread left-wing euro-trash, so I'm sure you can't understand why everyone wouldn't want to become a good little bitch like you.

Re:It "might", but it doesn't. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133883)

Additionally, to all the left-wing trash this site overfloweth with who might say "but some of those cameras are privately owned": If I was a homo getting worked over by my butt-buddy, I would be consenting to the ass-raping. This is just a tad diffferent than if the cops routinely came by and had their way with my bunghole.

So who do I contact? (1)

Serif (87265) | about 2 years ago | (#40133619)

So as a concerned UK citizen, which government department(s) should I be writing to, to request that they prosecute themselves for running an illegal website?

Most CCTV cameras are private (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133623)

and nothing to do with the government. However the gov (in the form of the police) likes to trawl them for evidence. Usually the cameras are found to be not working when the police are the wrong-doers.

Unworkable and a waste of time. (1, Interesting)

lixns21 (1887442) | about 2 years ago | (#40133655)

The whole focus of this has been towards helping people protect their 'privacy'. But look at the implementation on sites and you will know at once that there is no explicit consent. a) They have a pop-up box that allows you to opt out (disappears after 20s) b) There is a link to their 'Cookie page' c) The consent is bundled with other site functionality (i.e. ability to use FB/Twitter with marketing cookies) indirectly forcing users to accept all cookies. Companies are spending thousands of £s on a whole array of solutions since the EU directive and the UK law are still so broad. I think making the non-savvy users aware is the only way forward. At the same time people must realise that the livelihood of hundreds if not thousands of people depends on data gathered from sites.

Re:Unworkable and a waste of time. (2)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#40133823)

"At the same time people must realise that the livelihood of hundreds if not thousands of people depends on data gathered from sites."

No, I must not.

Re:Unworkable and a waste of time. (1)

mvdwege (243851) | about 2 years ago | (#40134039)

If your livelihood is based on spying on me and tracking my browsing habits without my consent, you can starve in the streets for all I care.

Implied consent is now ok (5, Informative)

beebware (149208) | about 2 years ago | (#40133657)

48 hours before the law came into force, the ICO issued new guidelines at http://www.ico.gov.uk/news/blog/2012/updated-ico-advice-guidance-e-privacy-directive-eu-cookie-law.aspx [ico.gov.uk] which basically reads as "If the user's browser accepts cookies, then they agree to the cookies being stored". Making the whole things pretty moot. Why they waited until the "11th hour" to state the obvious is annoying...

Re:Implied consent is now ok (4, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | about 2 years ago | (#40133829)

48 hours before the law came into force, the ICO issued new guidelines at http://www.ico.gov.uk/news/blog/2012/updated-ico-advice-guidance-e-privacy-directive-eu-cookie-law.aspx [ico.gov.uk] which basically reads as "If the user's browser accepts cookies, then they agree to the cookies being stored". Making the whole things pretty moot. Why they waited until the "11th hour" to state the obvious is annoying...

I can't find that in there. The nearest I can find seems to be "If the user's browser accepts cookies, and the user has a good understanding of what cookies are and how they are used then they agree to the cookies being stored", with the onus being on the site owner to prove that the users have that level of technical knowledge before setting cookies. That would probably be ok for a tech site, but not for a site aimed at the general public. The one site I manage doesn't use cookies, but if I wanted to implement analytics for example then I reckon I'll still need to implement a landing page.

Re:Implied consent is now ok (1)

davide marney (231845) | about 2 years ago | (#40134123)

I think he means the following from the website link:

  • "Implied consent is a valid form of consent and can be used in the context of compliance with the revised rules on cookies.
  • If you are relying on implied consent you need to be satisfied that your users understand that their actions will result in cookies being set. Without this understanding you do not have their informed consent.

Re:Implied consent is now ok (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 2 years ago | (#40134211)

Quite. There's nothing to see here any more. For implied consent you just need a suitably descriptive privacy policy page, which most sites already have. The 11th hour relaxing means everybody can pretty much carry on as usual

Re:Implied consent is now ok (1)

juliohm (665784) | about 2 years ago | (#40134135)

"and the user has a good understanding of what cookies are and how they are used" That just means anyone without some sort of official academic degree on (like computer science or any IT course) can legally claim in court he has no knowledge of what cookies are or how they are used. If you're not an expert on the technology used, you have no obligation to assess anything about how it works.

Re:Implied consent is now ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40134303)

I think he means this part:

consent may be signified by a subscriber who amends or sets controls on the
internet browser which the subscriber uses or by using another application or
programme to signify consent.

At present, most browser settings are not sophisticated enough for websites to
assume that consent has been given to allow the site to set a cookie. For
consent to be clearly signified by the browser settings it would need to be clear
that subscribers had been prompted to consider their current browser settings
and, had either indicated in some way they were happy with the default, or have
made the decision to change the settings.

Depending on interpretation, it might mean "We're setting the cookies, if you don't like it, go change your browser settings, kthxbai", which none of nontechie users will be bothered to do (just let me watch this cat video, dammit!)

Not actually that crazy (5, Informative)

jcupitt65 (68879) | about 2 years ago | (#40133697)

The regulations are not actually as crazy as this story makes them out to be. Here are the latest guidance notes from ICO:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/news/blog/2011/~/media/documents/library/Privacy_and_electronic/Practical_application/guidance_on_the_new_cookies_regulations.ashx [ico.gov.uk] (PDF)

Page 10 has a summary table with some examples of banned (ie. explicit permission required) and OK cookies:

ALLOWED

shopping basket cookies
security cookies (banking, session id, etc.)
load balancing track things

BANNED

analytical cookies (eg. count unique users)
advertising, both first and third party
remembering users between sessions for trivial purposes, eg. display a "welcome back" banner

Re:Not actually that crazy (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about 2 years ago | (#40134065)

analytical cookies (eg. count unique users)

Because God forbid website owners aggregate information for optimization purposes. After all, let's all just pretend IE is everything everyone uses, all our users male, there's no purpose in trying to figure out anything precisely, optimizing for our best wild guesses and/or for whatever industry marketers says is fine, and only evil people engage in this newfangled silliness called "math".

Jokes aside, I predict UK will see a surge in AWStats usage, plus a resurgence of very long URLs (including old-style web bugs with very long URLs).

In short: another idiotic and plainly useless law.

Re:Not actually that crazy (2)

radio4fan (304271) | about 2 years ago | (#40134225)

I predict UK will see a surge in AWStats usage, plus a resurgence of very long URLs (including old-style web bugs with very long URLs).

This wouldn't get around the law. Non-cookie based tracking is also covered.

The media may call it the 'Cookie law', but the article title's "No tracking law" is more accurate.

The irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133753)

It's ironic having this law in the UK while you can be tracked IRL there nearly everywhere by CCTV cameras that identify your face or your car's plate number.

Re:The irony (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 2 years ago | (#40134217)

No, that is an urban legend, and it reflects very poorly on you when you parrot it, as clearly you have spent no time investigating whether the claim is true or not before regurgitating it as fact.

Implementations suck too (2)

Zocalo (252965) | about 2 years ago | (#40133779)

Where sites have actually implemented this new directive, the implementations often suck just as much as the law, which is not particularly surprising given how poorly it's worded. If you have cookies disabled through your default browser policies the end result on many sites where is a permanantly visible prompt to "Click here to read and accept our cookie policy". Yep, that's right. You have to enable cookies to let them set a cookie that says they will not use cookies to track you.

I'm fairly sure that some of these sites realise that you could set a cookie, immediately try to read it back and if that fails assume cookies are blocked skipping the display of the prompt, and either way you remove the cookie. But no, this law is so poorly written it's not totally clear whether even this would be a breach of the legislation or not and clarification has still not been provided, so as usual for the EU the intention might be good, but the implementation leaves a hell of a lot to be desired. In this case, I can see a number of people are going to end up re-enabling cookies just to get rid of the prompts and end up getting tracked by all those sites who don't implement the law because they are outside the EU's jurisdiction and/or just don't care - completely the opposite of the desired effect.

And nobody (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133783)

gave a flying fuck

s/No/Yes/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133811)

It's an opt-out which is mandated. The situation is the same as before, only now the website have to be a little more obvious about what they're doing than they were before.

Other countries, such as the Netherlands, have mandated opt-in. There an actual change is happening.

Madness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40133819)

So corporations (who are really only interested in selling you more or better products) can't watch or track users accessing their own websites, but the UK government (who are in control of the police, the military, health care, social security, education) get to snoop on ALL of its citizens' communications in real-time and without oversight or due suspicion? Madness. In the long term, know who I'd prefer watching my behavior.

I don't live in the UK, but if I did, I'd be signing this: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32400 . Doesn't the UK listen to its intellectuals any more? It's unbelievable that Orwell and Huxley have been defeated by the impotent argument of "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear".

Harm Europe economically? (4, Interesting)

Geeky (90998) | about 2 years ago | (#40133903)

All this will do is harm European companies at the expense of ones based elsewhere.

I've seen UK based sites start to implement this, but there's no chance that Facebook, Google etc will follow suit - so if the tracking actually does have monetary value, we've just guaranteed that only non-European companies can benefit from it. Woohoo.

Re:Harm Europe economically? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40134143)

Facebook and Google will follow suit because they have significant business interests in Europe. They have to comply with local laws to do business here, it is as simple as that.

Hosted in Britain only or British-owned? (1)

mallydobb (1785726) | about 2 years ago | (#40133933)

What does this mean, if anything, for UK owned sites hosted outside of the Queen's reach?

Re:Hosted in Britain only or British-owned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40134119)

If they're British-owned they're subject to the directive.

Retarded lawmakers. (3, Funny)

hack slash (1064002) | about 2 years ago | (#40134037)

This new law is fucking ludicrus, I generally block all cookies except certain websites, and one of the UK websites I visit has put a pink banner at the top warning about the cookie crap saying I will only see it once, but it relies on cookies to tell wether the banner has already been displayed, meaning it's ALWAYS there because I've blocked cookies on that site.

Who the fuck came up with the idea of using cookies to warn you about the use of cookies?

Eat Your Own Dogfood Law (2)

davide marney (231845) | about 2 years ago | (#40134107)

FTA, " amusingly even the governments own websites aren't ready." I'd be in favor of an Eat-Your-Own-Dogfood law that stipulates that a) laws that apply to private businesses also apply to the government, and b) no law need be implemented by the private sector until implemented by the government.

Do they use the word "cookies" (1)

juliohm (665784) | about 2 years ago | (#40134165)

Creating laws specific to the technology at hand seems like a complete nonsense to me. Today we use cookies in plain text headers of HTTP. Who knows what's going to be used as a standard in the future! If they use something else other than cookies, then it's OK to be tracked according to this law?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...