The new EU legislation that came into effect on the 25th May has changed the way that websites gather information about their visitors. The new rules require websites to ask users for their ‘informed consent’ and offer different consent levels. Therefore, they have to ask your permission before they send cookies to your computer.
What are cookies?
Cookies operate by accessing or storing information on your computer for different reasons. Some are needed to simply make the website work, whereas others gather information on you for the website’s own purposes.
Cookies are text files which are sent by a servers to a web browsers, and then stored within the browser. The web server can then track and identify that browser as the text file is then sent back to the server every time a page is requested from the server.
The information obtained by cookies can be used to improve the websites usability or marketing or even be used to personalise the website for the user offering them particular adverts or deals.
Under the new legislation, cookies are now divided into four categories:
- Strictly Necessary: Used in order for the website to function properly.
- Performance: These are cookies that are used to monitor the performance of the website.
- Functionality: These cookies remember things such a password for users who repeatedly use the site.
- Targeting Cookies: These cookies collect several pieces of information about the browsing habits of the user.
Websites now ask you to state which level of cookie usage you are willing to allow. In order to enforce the law, the Information Commissioners Office now has the power to fine websites up to £500,000 if they breach the new regulations.
However, how do the general public view cookie use? Do they feel it is a good or bad thing? Is it a necessary evil for them? A US Market Research company surveyed people aged from 18 to 70 in the UK, US and Australia to find out how they felt and you can see the results in this infographic.
According to the research, over 90 per cent of respondents in all three countries are aware of cookies, yet only around a quarter of them know what they are. A third of all those interviewed say they are not against cookies as long as they improve the overall experience of the website.
Despite their relaxed attitude to cookie use, the 51 per cent of the respondents only accepted cookies from trusted sites and 41 per cent are concerned about what information is being shared.
Catherine Halsey writes for a digital marketing agency on a range of subjects. This article contains a link to http://www.valuedopinions.com/