Quick guide to the 'EU cookie law'

A new law is now in force which affects everyone who has a website.
We’ve come to know it as the EU ‘Cookie Law’ but it’s really part of the wider-reaching Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
It requires that all website owners in the UK need to give consent to cookies being used on their sites.

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small text file that contains information relevant to your visit. It could be to tell the website that you’ve logged in, or that you want to use a bigger font, or it could be something more complex like storing the contents of your shopping basket.
Analytics programs also use cookies to track visitors from one page to another, and advertisers use cookies to collect information about you in order to serve you relevant ads.
The law only requires you to seek consent for cookies which are deemed non-essential. Those used for logging in and shopping carts are considered essential as the website would not function without them. However, cookies used for analytics and advertising are considered non-essential and so consent must be sought from the user before they are written to your computer.

Does your site use cookies?

The answer is probably yes, but the only way to know for sure, is to have your site audited for cookies. If you use Google Analytics, the code you put into your site will be sending cookies to your visitors every time they use your site. The new law requires that you get consent for this and other cookies such as those used by social media sharing services and third party advertising networks.

What you must do next

To comply with the law, you should:

  1. carry out a cookie audit to see what cookies your site uses if any.
  2. make it clear in your privacy policy or separate cookie policy, what cookies you do use.
  3. provide a way of allowing users to consent to them, or turn them off.

Canary Dwarf offers its own cookie consent service or you can find out more about cookie law at: