Websites will have to gain ‘explicit consent' from visitors to store or access information on their computers from 25th May.
The new law is an amendment to the EU's Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive and will require UK businesses and other organisations to obtain consent from visitors to their websites in order to store and retrieve usage information from users' computers.
Speaking today, the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham warned UK businesses and other organisations running websites that they must ‘wake up' to the EU legislation.
He said: “While the roll out of this new law will be a challenge, it will have positive benefits as it will give people more choice and control over what information businesses and other organisations can store on and access from consumers' own computers.
“Once the new regulations are published there will be a major job of education and guidance to be undertaken. In the meantime, both the business community and public sector organisations need to start thinking clearly about how they will meet the requirements of the new directive.”
The Information Commissioner's Office will be responsible for regulation, while the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will lead on the implementation on the new measures in the UK.
Minister for culture, communications and the creative industries, Ed Vaizey, said: “Revisions to the e-Privacy directive will provide consumers with more choice and control over their internet experience. But at the same time we need to make sure these changes do not make using the internet more difficult.