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European Commission admits it should adhere to own cookie law

29 May 2012

The European Commission (EC) has admitted to V3 it should adhere to the cookie law it introduced, after it was revealed several institutions concerned with data protection and privacy are not complying with the legislation.

V3 reported on Monday that the EC's website, as well as the Article 29 Working Party and the European Data Protection Supervisor, have not installed any explicit consent tools despite this now being a legal requirement for business and government websites across all member states.

Lawyers speculated that the EC departments were possibly exempt from the law as they are not technically classed as belonging to any member state so would fall outside the scope of legislation.

However, a spokesperson for Digital Agenda within the EC told V3 that it was aware of the need to set an example to the industry and would monitor its own sites to ensure compliance.

"Neelie Kroes is committed to the idea of the European Commission practising what it preaches," they said.

"If there is proof of a part of the EU institutions not being transparent about cookies, please let us know, so we can work to address it."

The EC's failure to comply with the very law it introduced will cause much consternation among business leaders. They have complained the change in legislation is unnecessary and will confuse customers using their websites.

On revealing the lack of cookie compliance on the EC's website V3 was contacted by Baycloud, which provides a cross-platform cookie tool called CookieQ, to reveal it had actually contacted the organisation to offer its product, but the EC was uninterested.

The cookie law entered the statute books on 26 May, 2011 but in the UK the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it would provide a year's grace period for organisations to prepare for the law before any enforcement action was taken.

In the run up to the deadline on 26 May, 2012 the organisation sent warning letters to 50 of the biggest websites in the UK asking for an update on their progress and warning them they face the threat of £500,000 fines for non-compliance.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

View Dan's Google+ profile

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