Cookies; we use them, so does everyone else

Cookies are used to deliver superior functionality and to enhance your experience of digital services. They’re also used to spy on our activity and follow us round the t’interweb trying to push products at us. We do need them, as a number of services rely on them and some digital services use them to make life easier (we, for example, pre-fill forms with information you have left before – neat eh?).

Since the delayed introduction of the badly contructed EU Privacy Directive in April 2012, sites have taken one of four approaches:

  • Display a huge banner/pop-up/alert that dominates the screen, ruins the user experience and is impossible to miss
  • Display a discreet alert showing people that cookies are being used.
  • Adding a small link somewhere on the homepage pointing to a privacy policy
  • Ignore it all together

As the (delayed) date got closer the world went mad adding different solutions, an entire sub-industry appeared and spread fear, uncertainty and doubt. The doom-sayers started quoting “up to €100,000 fines”. It was all bollocks and eventually the architects of the UK implementation, the ICO, backed down without a word and discretely removed the huge warnings from their sites. Cost, lots. Achieved, nothing.

Whilst ignoring it all together is not too bright, for the moment I’d suggest only adding a link but you must have a good (and readable) cookie policy for the 0.01% of visitors who may take offence.