Our ramblings about website design and other things

The New EU Cookie Regulations

You may have seen various articles and mentions on the TV news bulletins about the new EU Rules on the use of Cookies.

So what are cookies and how do they work? (Chocolate Chip are our favourites :-))

A cookie is simply a text file containing information that can be remembered by a web browser between pages. When an individual uses a web browser to access the Internet their browser can create cookies which are stored on the user’s computer. Cookies are not programs and therefore cannot contain viruses or other malicious software. They are purely a string of text and numbers.

There are two main types of cookies – session cookies and persistent cookies.

Session cookies only last during a single visit. When a user closes their web browser the session cookie information is automatically removed from their computer. Typically a website uses session cookies to allow you to navigate back and forward through pages.

Persistent cookies are stored by the user’s web browser even when the web browser has been closed, so that the next time a user goes back to the website that originally set the cookie, the web site can read information back from the cookie.  Persistent cookies have an expiry date which controls when they are automatically deleted. This can be anything from a few minutes to several years.

The big concern by the EU is the use of Persistent Cookies and how that information can be used by different websites.

As many sites are using a lot of Persistent Cookies then they will need to obtain your permission to proceed so from the 26th May 2012 every time you visit some websites you may need to click on an accept cookie pop up box.

At Bluewaveweb we tend to only make use of persistent cookies for Google Analytics and the information stored is minimal mainly being used to clarify users as a first time or returning visitor, no personal information is stored.

So for our customers our approach is to add a ‘use of cookies’ page to their website so any concerned visitors can find out more information about the use of cookies on their site.

Ultimately the user has total control over cookies by changing the settings on their browser.