The UK government has announced that it is going to adopt a controversial EU cookie law on May 25. Once the law comes into effect, websites may be required to ask for explicit user consent before installing cookies on their browsers.
In simple terms, a cookie is a small text file that helps a website keep track of a user as he or she navigates a website. Cookies can be used to enhance user experience and or essential for some websites, such as social networking sites, to work properly.
However, as online marketing becomes more important, many advertising firms have put the cookies to more controversial uses, such as tracking the users’ online activities after they leave a website.
The communication minister in the UK government Ed Vaizy recently confirmed that his government is likely to adopt a two-tier strategy towards enforcing these regulations.
According to a (opens in new tab)report in the Daily Telegraph (opens in new tab), the government will collaborate with software vendors to ensure that users can give permission without too much of a headache.
One possibility is that the government will make websites notify users about tracking cookies through on-screen icons. Clicking on the icon would give tracing cookies access to the users computer, and leaving it deactivated would block them. Other analysts believe that an explicit opt out system is more likely.