EU Cookie Law: UK Government ‘break’ the law they imposed

Following on from my last article on The EU Cookie Law, I decided to check and see whether the government had updated its sites to adhere to the new law it imposed in May 2011.

Number 10 Downing Street

No request to send me cookies. Looks like their using Google Analytics though!

Website: www.number10.gov.uk

no10_cookie

Direct.gov.uk

No request to send me cookies. Again, looks like their using Google Analytics (and more!).

Website: www.direct.gov.uk

direct_cookie

DVLA – Driver & Vehicle Licensing Authority

No request to send me cookies. Again, looks like their using Google Analytics.

Website: www.dvla.gov.uk

dvla_cookies

Information Commissioners Office

Although they appear to be trying to adhere, they’re not quite there yet. As you can see below, they are asking whether I want to accept cookies from them, unfortunately after they have already sent one.

Website: www.ico.gov.uk

ico_cookie

HMRC

No request to send me cookies. (The cookie had my IP address within it so I had to blur it out)

Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk

hmrc_cookie1

Are they breaking the law?

It appears so, they’ve all issued me cookies without asking permission to do so. I’ll leave up to you to decide whether the session cookies in the last two examples are ‘strictly necessary for a service requested by a user’, with the law being as vague as it is. Either way, they’d still allow the site to ‘track your visit’ to some extent. The other examples are definitely not ‘strictly necessary for a service requested by a user’. I assume that if we do see any cases go to court, they’ll be strictly on a case by case basis.

You can see for yourself by emptying your web browsers cache (most importantly clearing the cookies) and visiting one of these sites and then checking for cookies. Click here to find out how to empty your browsers cookies and here to find out how to view your browsers cookies.



5 thoughts on “EU Cookie Law: UK Government ‘break’ the law they imposed”

  1. dpollard_co_uk says:

    You do know that there is a years grace before this law has to be implemented ?

    Many public sector organisations have updated their privacy policy to disclose what cookies are in use – and have updated their business plans to reflect that they will have to introduce new functionality in time for the deadline in 2012. Many are delaying the changes to their sites as they are waiting to see if the law will change back within the time period, hence not wasting hard earned tax payers money.

    There is also a cross government working group trying to come up with a solution that best fits, ensuring that the smallest number of solutions are applied across departments, actual public sector joined up thinking (for once).

  2. TheCookieCrunch says:

    You can see exactly what cookies are stored for many gov’t sites by looking them up here: http://www.cookielaw.org/cookie-search.aspx

    As pointed out, there is until May 2012 for them to come into line, but if they want a simple and affordable solution – this website is offering one.

  3. green2go says:

    @dpollard_co_uk All good points. The ‘year to implement’ was bought in after the law was passed? I still don’t think a vast amount of sites will be in compliance by this date. It will also be interesting to see what happens in circumstances such as blogs & sites that are dormant, etc. Then there are also the practicalities of enforcing this law, which I think, have been under thought.

  4. WolfSoftware says:

    We have already released a jQuery plugin to resolve this issue for Google Analytics

    http://cookies.dev.wolf-software.com

    We have put together a small site for people to be able to see how long they have left before the new law will start to be enforced.

    http://countdown.wolf-software.com

    We are also working a new plugin which will handle cookies of any kind

    1. WolfSoftware says:

       @WolfSoftware http://demos.dev.wolf-software.com – a complete suite for compliance.

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