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The Privacy Advisor | UK—Businesses warned on new cookie rules Related reading: Therrien calls for enforcement powers, changes in law


By Phil Lee

The ICO has said that businesses must “wake up” to new rules that will require them to collect users’ consent when serving Web site cookies. The rules derive from amendments made to the European e-Privacy Directive and come into force throughout Europe on May 25. Businesses have voiced concerns about the practical challenges of obtaining consent in a user-friendly way and the possibility that member states adopt different local consent standards. Despite not having yet published draft legislation, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that the new law will come into effect as planned but that it expects the ICO to afford businesses a grace period from enforcement “in the short term.” The ICO has stated that proposals to allow businesses to rely on visitors’ browser settings to assess consent are under review.


Phil Lee is a Senior Associate at Field Fisher Waterhouse and a member of the firm’s Privacy and Information Law Group. He can be reached at


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