NEW Cookie Compliance is Good for Business

What is a Cookie?

The term “cookie” is a storage of data (like logins, previous searches, or items in a shopping cart) on a local machine (your computer, smartphone, or tablet), which is sent to a specified server (usually the server of the website you’re using). This data is stored in text strings. This entire process is actually very simple and non-intrusive towards the user’s experience. Here’s a step-by-step view of how cookies work:

  • The website’s server interacts with the user’s browser
  • User loads up a new webpage
  • Various tracking data will be stored within the cookie that is saved in the browser
  • After new data is refreshed, the cookie data is sent to the website’s server
  • Cookies will be downloaded onto the user’s browser, saving bits of information in the browser

The EU data privacy laws that came into force last May state that storing and accessing information on users' computers (i.e. cookies) is only lawful if the user has given consent. In this tip, we'll discuss the compliance implications of this development and what changes U.S. enterprises must make to comply.


Who Needs to Comply with the Cookie Law?

The majority of United States websites won’t need to comply with any regulations related to the Cookie Law, unless you have a target audience in Europe. Any factors that relate to European users should consider compliance with the EU Cookie Law. All cookie information must be promptly presented and allow the user to decline or accept cookies. It’s all about simplistic, outlined cookie information, which is displayed before the user continues to navigate the website. In your permission request, avoid jargon, overly complicated explanations, or long paragraphs of information. Simply ask the user if they give you permission to use cookies while on the site and perhaps provide a resource if they need more information before proceeding.

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