Are you ready for the change in the Law next week?

This has been an odd few weeks, what with InfoSec holidays and a week in the US with work. But as ever, the world turns, and our world turns with it. So did you know about the change in the Law next week?

No? The one to do with consent and cookies? (No baking jokes at the back – I’m the funny one).

Next week sees the implementation of the EU Directive on cookies, which explicitly requires consent from users to allow sites to monitor use, and to point out that targeted advertising is just that.

So have you changed your website? And bluntly, what’s the ICO going to do if you don’t? And who’s going to report a website to the ICO on this? Is it going to be like the smoking ban in Southern France (i.e. largely ignored) or used as a political football by anti-EU types (Euro banana all over again maybe)? Does it actually do any good?

I’m minded to say that like Simon Cowell, I’m sure the law means well, but does come across as a bit mean spirited. There are any number of problems with Privacy in an electronic world (twitter/super injunctions perhaps?) that the EU needs to get a grip on, and delivering bits of legislation that in other parts of the world seem a bit odd doesn’t move things along. And actually, if you take the example of channel-shift in the world of Local Government, this law frankly is a bit of a pain in the bum.

Local Gov is adopting channel shift as a way of transforming itself out of fiscal difficulties by allowing people to interact with it en masse electronically. People like it (24x7x365, don’t have to leave the house in the rain mid-winter to buy parking tickets etc.), councils like it (reduction in transaction costs means you can redirect hard-pressed cash into other areas) and IT departments like it (they get to do something useful with all of their skills rather than just take support calls from councillors who have forgotten their password – again). ANYTHING that slows down the process of electronic interaction is bad and to be avoided. Repeatedly asking for permission to store cookies is going to create irritation and slow matters down.

I for one have the attention span of a fly these days and will happily surf off elsewhere should a website displease me, not give me exactly what I want NOW or take more than a blink to load. I’m not suggesting that the EU law is bad (consent is always good), it’s just that given the raft of issues about right now, it seems an odd one to tackle. And to finish off, I have to say the whole thing looks unenforceable.

Unenforceable, irritating, costs money. Great. Where do I sign?

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About Graeme Stewart, McAfee

I work for McAfee as Director of Public Sector Strategy and Relations, UK&I
This entry was posted in Cyber, Efficiency, Government ICT strategy, Govt ICT Strategy, ICO, InfoSec, Legal, Security, Sophos. Bookmark the permalink.

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