Feeds

Almost entire EU now violating Brussels cookie privacy law

Steelie Neelie threatens 'necessary measures'

The Power of One Infographic

The deadline for the implementation of a European privacy law on cookies passed with a whimper at midnight last night, after just two Member States issued a full notification to Brussels.

Meanwhile, 19 of the 27-bloc countries that make up the European Union ignored the 25 May deadline on implementing the full, or indeed partial, set of measures laid out in the revised legislation for the e-Privacy Directive.

At the end of yesterday, only Estonia and Denmark had notified the Commission, with officials in those states confirming that they had transposed all of the EC measures on internet cookies into their national law.

The UK, France, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Latvia and Lithuania all offered the Commission partial notifications, even though Brussels' officials had made it clear that implementation of all the measures was required from each member state.

Finland is also expected to implement all parts of the 2009 legislation. But it hasn't notified the EC yet.

The European privacy law came into force this morning requiring websites within the EU to obtain a visitor's consent to install a cookie in their browser. But readers would be forgiven for thinking little has changed online today.

Indeed, the UK government effectively freed up web owners in Britain from the burden of implementing the changes for one year, after the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham – whose office is tasked with enforcing the law – confirmed yesterday that no action would be immediately taken against companies that ignored the rules.

"We're giving businesses and organisations up to one year to get their house in order," he said yesterday.

The Register asked Brussels spokesman Jonathan Todd to explain what the lack of interest in the privacy law meant for the EU.

"That a large number of Member States have failed to fulfil their obligations to meet a deadline that they themselves had set," he said.

"For its part, the Commission may open infringement proceedings against the Member States in question as a matter of urgency."

He pointed out that Europe's digital agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said earlier this week that she would "take the measures necessary to fix that situation vis-à-vis Member States and telecoms operators".

But the warning appeared to have been largely ignored, leaving many website businesses perplexed by the new rules.

As for the detail missing from the UK's submission to the Commission, Todd told us that "they have notified everything except the law giving the necessary new powers to Ofcom – we know that they have adopted this law but they have not yet notified it (we presume they will imminently)."

Blighty's communications minister Ed Vaizey said earlier this week that his government department was talking to browser vendors to work out a "technical solution" via a browser setting.

Some privacy advocates claimed that Vaizey was appeasing advertisers by shying away from implementing an effective mechanism that would allow web surfers to consent to their online movements being tracked. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.