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I have for a long time known that websites give me cookies so that small pieces of information can be remembered about my habits, passwords etc. I accept this, but all of a sudden they are asking for my permission to do so.

Why has this changed? What sparked this?


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Remember guys! Use Ghostery and AdBlock Plus addons. Both in Chrome and Firefox. Always. –  Shiki Jul 28 '12 at 17:17
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@Shiki I use add block most of the time, but I don't think everyone should all the time. Thats how websites exist, from advertising revenue. Some websites even have different content if they detect plug in. –  NimChimpsky Jul 29 '12 at 8:22
    
@NimChimpsky 1) If you install AdBlock at a friend or at a non-tech-savvy person, always use main filters, and only the most necessary ones. 2) If the person (or you) likes a forum or a site, unblock that. It's possible. Even easy for newbies. 3) But Ghostery should remain ON, for all the time. The only thing it kills (what you may want to use) is the ultra-cheap/worse online tech support chat. But those kind of support sites never help. Most of them are just bots, or unpaid/underpaid people who just redirects you to sites and whatnot. –  Shiki Jul 29 '12 at 9:20
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@Shiki: your initial statement is not unconditionally correct –  abatishchev Jul 30 '12 at 6:32
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Back when Mozilla Firefox was called Firebird (and before that Phoenix), it explained "cookies are delicious delicacies" –  Colonel Panic Aug 16 '12 at 15:37

3 Answers 3

up vote 88 down vote accepted

The EU e-Privacy Directive, otherwise known as the EU Cookie Law, originally came into place on the 26th of May 2012 and means you, as the site owner/administrator, have to get your visitors' informed consent before placing a cookie (probably related to social media elements or login/tracking systems) on their machine.

If you are a WordPress admin, there is a notification plugin for you to use which looks like this:

enter image description here

There is also a great overview.

According to the above link, it is not just standard cookies.

The law also affects anything that acts like a cookie, for example: Flash Cookies and HTML5 Local Storage.

There are also 'suggested categories' from the same link above (overview):

  • Essential (logins)
  • Non-Essential but harmless (functionality, not essential)
  • Fairly Intrusive (web tracking)
  • Very Intrusive (PII - personally identifiable information)
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10  
Worth noting that "implied consent" has been added to the directive at the last minute –  Ben Brocka Jul 29 '12 at 2:04
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If you're a serious site, check with a national lawyer. The plugin is sufficient for the UK law of May 26th, but not for all EU countries. E.g. the similar Dutch cookie law of June 5th is stricter and links up with the Protection of Private Data law. –  MSalters Jul 29 '12 at 22:23
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Wait, the cookie laws get even crazier! The Dutch government has decided that all websites in the entire internet in the whole world must obey the Dutch cookie law, which states that sites are only allowed to place cookies if you give them explicit permission. Yes, you are reading this correct, an opt in for cookies for all sites –  BrtH Aug 21 '12 at 21:01

The law has changed.

Functional cookies are still allowed, but other cookies now require explicit permission to set. This is something which is decided EU wide after self regulation failed. Each (EU-) country has its own implementation of the new laws, but all follow the same guidelines.

  • If explicitly needed: allowed
  • Else ask for permission.

Here are a few links to relavant articles regarding Cookie Laws:

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You say the law changed, but you don't cite a specific law or movement. What laws? When did this change? –  iglvzx Jul 29 '12 at 6:24
    
I did not add links because I was still searching for relevant links in another language than in my native language (Dutch). When I returned to the question with some of them bookmarked there were already two other answers which such links. –  Hennes Jul 29 '12 at 11:33
    
I understand. I'm just trying to help you write a more clear, complete answer. :) –  iglvzx Jul 29 '12 at 18:04
    
You say functional cookies are allowed, so I can store cookies such as SSID and page language information at the visitor without informing him/her? –  modiX Jun 29 at 15:29
    
To quote from the second link I posted: "Some cookies can be exempted from informed consent under certain conditions if they are not used for additional purposes. These cookies include cookies used to keep track of a user’s input when filling online forms or as a shopping cart, also known as session-id cookies, multimedia player session cookies and user interface customisation cookies, e.g. language preference cookies to remember the language selected by the user". So yes, remembering the page language and not using for anything else is legal. –  Hennes Jun 29 at 18:30

It's as a result of the European Union e-Privacy Directive.

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