17 May 2012 by Becky Reid,

Recently I wrote a blog about the impending cookie law and what it means for UK businesses. With the jerk of a British knee (my own personal opinion), from 26th May all websites that use cookies are going to have to make visitors aware of the cookies and what they do in order to give them the chance to ‘Just say no!’ to them.

Now, I like my privacy as much as the next person - a year ago I was the victim of online identity theft and fraud – but I also believe that the majority of online activity and websites are genuine and looking to provide a great customer experience.

Website owners across the land are now trying to work out the best way to abide by the law without scaring off customers with pop up banners (no one likes those much, do they?), unfamiliar words and terms (do you know what a CFTOKEN is??) and other such annoying factors.

In the past month I have read the ICO’s latest guidance, then the ICC guidance document and finally the Digital Cabinet’s guidance for not-for-profit organisations. With all those documents suggesting slightly different approaches I turned to my web agency for their opinion as well as looking what other top companies like BT and the Beeb are doing.

Following on from a cookie audit, which included deleting and disabling some old and unnecessary cookies, we have opted against a pop up banner but instead have separated out and expanded our cookie policy from the corporate privacy policy and added that to the footer of the FIA website. We are also promoting the new policy via all our communication platforms in an effort to be upfront and open about our use of cookies.

But that’s doesn’t mean I have ticked the box and closed the project file… every time we improve our Google Analytics I will need to understand what cookie(s) are being added, amend the policy and promote that. The FIA cookie policy is a living document and so needs to be tended to just like any other company policies – reviewed at regular intervals, amended and communicated as required.

Longer term web browser providers (Google Chrome, IE, Firefox etc.) are looking at how to incorporate cookie acceptance into browsers as standard but for now all UK businesses must learn to live with the cookie law.

Oh, and if you were wondering what a CFTOKEN is it’s the name of one of the cookies we use to provide transaction support when using our online shopping facility.