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The Information Commissioner's Office has alerted UK public and private sector organisations that from 25 May 2011 they will need the consent of the users of their websites before setting a cookie or similar information-gathering technology on a site.

Amendments to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations will also require websites to provide users with "clear and comprehensive information" about why their data will be stored.

The ICO says its advice is intended to help organisations to start to think about the practical steps they will need to take to remain compliant with the new law.

Information commissioner Christopher Graham said: "The implementation of this new legislation is challenging and involves significant technological considerations. That's why we've already consulted a wide range of stakeholders.

"But we want to spread the net as wide as we can and would welcome further comments from others who have practical examples to share. This advice is very much a work in progress and doesn't yet provide all of the answers."

Advice for the general public on what the new law will mean for them is currently being drafted by the ICO.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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