ICO sets up online survey as cookie complaints rise

By Sooraj Shah
29 May 2012 View Comments
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The Information Commisioner's Office (ICO) has received 84 customer complaints relating to the controversial EU cookie law since it came into force on Friday, via a survey tool to establish the key problem areas.

The online tool, "Report Your Cookie Concerns", is available here

Further reading

The new rules were brought in amid controversy over last-minute changes to the wording of the ICO's guidance on the policy. 

An ICO spokesperson told Computing: "We have set up a survey on our website and that enables anyone to make a complaint on the cookies they have received. From those survey results we will be looking at any trends, such as if there are any particular types of cookie that are of concern to the public, or if there is a particular website that people are concerned about."

The spokesperson confirmed that the ICO had received 64 responses on Monday and that a further 20 on Tuesday. The total of 84 takes into account people who responded more than once.

Sally Annereau, data protection analyst at law firm Taylor Wessing, told Computing that gathering the information will benefit the ICO in the long term.

"The suggestion from the ICO is that it is not the case that the Information Commissioner will be responding to each individual complaint. Rather, he is going to use it to inform his choices about how he best uses his current resources. It will be more about informing his enforcement of the law," she suggested.

Annereau said that the tool will help to show where consumers have concerns and educate them on the benefits of cookies.

"Cookies could be useful to consumers – they aren't agents of evil, they can perform very useful and necessary functions on a website in addition to those used to monetise a site.

"For example, EU users are used to receiving free content from websites. That content is free because it is monetised by advertising that relies on user cookies.

"I think that when consumers become more familiar with the way in which cookies are used they'll be able to make a judgement on what they are comfortable with," she said.

• A guidance video is on the rules can also be found on the ICO website at www.ico.gov.uk.



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