Cookie law could lead to new 'Bodil Lindqvist' cases
Cookie law could lead to new 'Bodil Lindqvist' cases

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is yet to begin investigating websites accused of breaking the new cookie laws, due to it not having a team in place to do so.

Despite the laws being announced in May 2011 and enforced for three months, since the year's grace ended for websites to ‘get their house in order', a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by PC Pro found that 320 websites have been reported to the privacy watchdog through its online submission tool, but none of those sites have been investigated.

The ICO said that the submitted information had not been analysed, as the team who will have responsibility was not yet in place, however it has subsequently hired employees to investigate allegations of cookie non-compliance. It also said that these staff will be responsible for other areas of the new Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR), including electronic marketing and unsolicited text messages.

The ICO told PC Pro: “It is intended that once the data has been analysed any organisations not in compliance will be identified, then further action will be considered as appropriate.”

Recent research by business IT solutions provider Prism found that as many as 90 per cent of UK website owners were currently ignoring the legislation.

Gary David Smith, co-founder and business development director of Prism, said: “All UK websites that use cookies in any form need to get consent from the user before the cookies are placed on the user's PC or the site must be adjusted to redirect to a cookie free version if the user rejects the consent form.

“The legislation does allow for sites to work on ‘implied consent' if they know visitors have been made aware of revised privacy policies but it's no good relying on a policy page that is out of date or difficult to find. Even in the case of simply applying Google Analytics to your site you need to let your visitors know that you are doing that.”