Recently, following an EU directive, amendments were made the UK Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations which came into force in May 2011. The most significant aspect of these UK amendments is that website users and visitors must expressly agree to accepting cookies that give any and all website information from a user or visitor. Prior to this, any information collected, even things as minor as visitor sites that were viewed or visited and collected for the purposes of advertising relevant or related adverts to subject topics they viewed, was exempt from this active requirement. This new regulation now means that any type of ‘cookie’ which may collect this or any type of visitor information must be actively and positively agreed to by the visitor to the site prior to viewing or access to the website.
This is seen as a very strict and uncommercial policy in comparison to other countries. It is viewed as a barrier and obstacle which will inhibit and stop people from viewing UK websites. Visitors may choose to go to other websites in other countries, such as the US, which do not have this requirement.
Other UK considerations …
Aside from this major change with visitors and user to sites having to explicitly accept cookies and storage of their information in the UK, there are a number of other modifications Australian websites will need to make in order to ensure that their policies are UK compliant. This includes notifying visitors that their IP addresses, in addition to other information from visitors may be taken and stored.