3aIT Blog

A plate of cookies near a MacWe're all used to cookie banners on websites at this point, although anyone that doesn't just ignore them or hit accept regardless may have noticed they can be very devious in trying to get you to accept cookies you didn't mean to. The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is now going to be more hardline on what is allowable here.

In short, the rules now state that it needs to be as easy to reject all cookies as it is to accept them. In other words, a banner needs a clear "Reject All" option without having to delve into the settings to do this (and even worse, then being presented with every cookie on the site and a toggle for each but no way to switch them all off in one go). The other thing that some websites do is a banner that says something like "This site uses cookies, so we'll just assume this is fine". This is also non-compliant.

Their statement in full:

"We’ve all been surprised to see adverts online that seem designed specifically for us – an ad for a hotel when you’ve just booked a flight abroad, for instance. Our research shows that many people are concerned about companies using their personal information to target them with ads without their consent.

“Gambling addicts may be targeted with betting offers based on their browsing record, women may be targeted with distressing baby adverts shortly after miscarriage and someone exploring their sexuality may be presented with ads that disclose their sexual orientation.

“Many of the biggest websites have got this right. We’re giving companies who haven’t managed that yet a clear choice: make the changes now, or face the consequences."

Of course, as we covered recently, if Google have their way, this will become moot by the end of the year anyway. If the changes to their Chrome browser go as planned, they will effectively be killing 3rd party cookies off by the end of the year.