ICO slams ‘dreamed up’ cookie law

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has finally broken ranks over the EU cookie law, claiming it was simply “dreamed up by Brussels” without proper research into what consumers want.
The law – part of the revised EU e-Privacy Directive which came into force in May – requires website owners to obtain explicit opt-in consent from visitors before deploying cookies. And last week it emerged that the vast majority of companies had opted to do the bare minimum to comply with the law.
Graham, who was speaking at the launch of a new report by think tank Demos, said that personal data legislation must be based on solid evidence.
He added: “More and more consumers are waking up to the implications of sharing personal data online. By fresh thinking that recognises where the consumer is coming from, we can develop policies that really work.”
Jamie Bartlett, senior researcher at Demos and author of the report, agreed with the Commissioner and claimed that implementation of the cookie law had “become far too onerous”.
The Data Dialogue report by Demos surveyed more than 5,000 people, and revealed high levels of discomfort with sharing data.
While 27% said they were comfortable with supermarket loyalty schemes, only 10% were comfortable with Gmail scanning email content for the purposes of targeted advertising.
However, nearly three-quarters (73%) of consumers said they would be reassured if they were able to withdraw data on request, 70% if they could see what personal information was being held, and 66% if they had an online dashboard to control data.

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