Monday, March 21, 2011

New Internet Cookies Rule Come Into Force in the European Union Starting May 25, 2011

Article first published by Cesar Ortiz as New Internet Cookies Rule To Be Enforced in the European Union on Blogcritics.

By Cesar Ortiz
A new European Union directive in effect May 25, 2011 will force advertisers to obtain "explicit consent" from Web users before they make use of cookies. Yahoo has anticipated the new European Union directive by introducing a feature designed to ensure Web users' privacy through the use of an opt-out button for cookies. Cookies are files placed in a user's browser to track online activity across numerous websites. The Yahoo's new plan may or may not meet the legal requirements. The plan allows users to click an "AdChoices" button visible in the upper right-hand corner of ads. This will provide users with information about Yahoo's advertising business and the chance to opt out of cookies. Yahoo answer to the opt-out is a much more practical solution than requiring users to opt in or out of cookies for every single advertisement.

Yahoo explained that this plan is being rolled out across Europe due to the success of a similar initiative that has proved popular with the United States online advertising industry targeting the European Union countries. "It is more about letting users manage their cookies. They can also opt-in to the categories that they are interested in," said the spokesman.

In the Unites States the Opt-Out is already in place and efforts are being made to expand to a “Do Not Track” system. On March 16, 2011, US Federal Trade Commission representatives testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on Privacy; Industry, that “efforts to implement the "Do Not Track" system are already underway”.

Cookies allows the sites you visit to remember the items in your shopping cart, recognize your computer when you return and then tailor your on line experience accordingly, remember cities that you want the weather forecast, your stock portfolio and what advertisings had you clicked before. Maile Ohye, from Google provides a wonderful non technical explanation about cookies in this Google Privacy: A Look at Cookies video.

Users in the USA can use the tool at the link below to identify those member companies that have placed an advertising cookie file on their computers. Notice that the report will indicate “Active cookie” or “No cookie”. You can, using the same tool, send your choices to the NAI members (advertisers that include Yahoo and Google). The tool is provided by the Network Advertising Initiative, Maryland, USA, a trade organization:

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