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Cookie law change – what retailers need to do

Eitan Jankelewitz - Solicitor, Media and Technology Department at Marriott Harrison

1 Consider what type of cookies the website is setting and how those cookies are used. It may be that a number of those cookies are no longer necessary and now is a good time for retailers to streamline their use of cookies.

2 Amend the website privacy policies to ensure users are properly informed about how the website uses cookies.

3 Consider how intrusive the cookies are to a user’s privacy (intrusiveness being judged from the perspective of the website user). Clearly, cookies intended to minimise internet fraud would be considered less intrusive than cookies to enable advertising by behavioural retargeting.

4 Consent of cookies must be informed, so users should be provided with useful and intelligible information about what cookies are, what they may be used for and any likely consequences. Retailers should already have a privacy policy in place in order to assist their compliance with existing data protection and website regulations, and this policy could be updated to cover cookies in more detail. This information should be easy to find so retailers should consider the size, format and position of any hyperlink to this information.

5 Pop-ups requesting users to confirm whether or not they accept cookies are the most effective way of obtaining consent, but may spoil the experience of using the website. Alternatively, retailers’ websites may be able to use a banner to request consent. This banner need not prevent website users from accessing other areas of the website if they fail to provide a response. This banner should be repeated on other pages of the website, but perhaps in a smaller format, until the website user has indicated whether or not they are willing to accept cookies.

6 Any new websites or software in development should take into account the new regulations and be designed with minimal reliance on cookies.

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