The Information Commissioners’s Office has announced that websites in the UK have been given an extra year to comply with EU cookie laws and advised that there won’t be any “overnight changes.”

The EU’s Privacy and Communications Directive, which came into effect on 26 May, requires user’s consent before using cookies. Cookies are the text files that help organise and store browsing information.

Although all firms must technically comply to with the law, the UK has said that more time is needed to find a more workable solution.

The government stated that it is looking at “business-friendly” solutions and also that it believes in a light-touch regulatory approach.

Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “We recognise that some website users have real concerns around online privacy but also recognise that cookies play a key role in the smooth running of the internet.”

He continued “But it will take some time to for workable technical solutions to be developed, evaluated and rolled out so we have decided that a phased in approach is right.”

To attempt to move things along, the government formed a working group with the leading browser manufacturers to evaluate if a browser-based solution to the issue can be found.

Both Microsoft’s IE9 and Mozilla Firefox offer an ‘opt-out’ functionality with a setting available to protect users from services which collect and harvest browser data and Google has said it is working on integrating “Do Not Track” technologies into its Chrome browser.

A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport admitted that there may be “other technical solutions” but that the browser solution was the only one it was currently pursuing.

It will certainly be interesting to see if the one year deferral is something that is achievable or if this is something that will continue to be put back and delayed.

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com