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The UK government will not have its regulatory house in order by 25 May when a new EU law on cookies come into force.

At the same time, the Information Commissioner's Office is warning businesses to be ready for the changes, even though the government's own guidelines won't be published until after that date.

Under the European Privacy and Electronic Communications directive, Blighty-based businesses and other organisations running websites that track their users' cookies will be required by law to obtain "explicit consent" from visitors to their sites.

"The directive will come into force in less than two months' time and businesses and organisations running websites in the UK must wake up to the fact that this is happening," said Information Commissioner Christopher Graham.

He said the law would present "positive benefits" to individuals, but added that the ICO was concerned that it could also "cause an unnecessary burden on UK businesses".

Upon publication of the new regulations, Graham said a huge job of educating and guiding businesses and organisations would get underway.

The ICO is tasked with steering the regulation, while the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for implementing the new measures in the UK.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey admitted that "work will not be complete by the implementation deadline".

Furthermore, the ICO won't "take enforcement action in the short term" against those UK outfits that fail to immediately adhere to the regulation.

"The government is clear that it will take time for meaningful solutions to be developed, evaluated and rolled out," said Vaizey. ®

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