However, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham told the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers that, while this allows businesses a long time to modify their sites, the ICO will enforce the rules strongly once the year is up.
"The government has said that it does not expect the ICO to enforce this new rule straight away, so we're giving businesses and organisations up to one year to get their house in order," he said.
"This does not let everyone off the hook. Those who choose to do nothing will have their lack of action taken into account when we begin formal enforcement of the rules."
Graham also revealed details of the ICO's plans to inform visitors to its own web site how it is using cookies, but said that, while firms may use its example as a guide, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
"As the regulator, I am conscious that my own web site will be looked at as a model of how to comply. We've decided to place a header bar on our web site giving information about the cookies we use and choices about how to manage them," he said.
"I am not saying other web sites should necessarily do the same. Every web site is different, and prescriptive 'to do' lists would only hinder, rather than help, businesses to find a solution that works best for them."
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