APM EU ePrivacy regulation aka cookie law

ePrivacy – the Next Step from GDPR

Digital and e-marketers need to look toward the development of new e-privacy regulation…

We know what you’re thinking – we’ve only just got ourselves in line for the GDPR regulations that were introduced in May, and now you’re talking about yet more regulation, which will affect anyone who is involved in digital or e-marketing.

Next up is the EU’s ePrivacy Regulation, which is due to appear towards the end of this year or during the early part of 2019, and is designed to replace the outdated ePrivacy Directive from 2002.

The directive from the early part of the century focuses on the treatment of traffic and location data by telecommunications companies and internet service providers. It also restricts direct marketing by email and other channels and puts limits on the use of online tracking devices, such as cookies. While the new regulation will apply to many of the same areas, it will have a wider scope and be more strictly applied.

One of its central themes is the banning of the processing of “electronic communications data” by those who provide electronic communications services. This includes the content of messages we well as its metadata.

The new regulation has been called the ‘cookie law’, because cookies – which track users’ movements and details on websites they visit – are central to the ePrivacy Regulations.

There is more to it than that, but cookies are an obvious and visible part of it.

So, what will it mean? At present, websites pop up with a cookie consent statement when you visit them – but this will not be necessary for things that are not considered intrusive to user’s privacy – for instance, counting how many web visitors you get to your site, or retaining the items in a shopper’s basket.

The idea is that this should simplify and streamline the whole idea of cookie use and make it more user friendly.

The good news for those who do the technical stuff for websites is that no more cookie consent pop-ups will be needed for websites based in the EU or sites with EU visitors.

But, the regulations are likely to say that website visitors must accept or refuse cookies through the settings in their browser – so if cookies are not enabled, they won’t be able to access your site – not so good if you provide lots of information and a shopping experience online. And your web developer will just be replacing one pop-up with another, that says ‘sorry, no cookies, no access’.

In terms of marketing, there are a lot of cookies at work – measuring audiences, cookies used for social networks, cookies for analytics – it’s a whole batch of cookies! And as yet we don’t know for sure which will be affected.

However, nothing is set in stone as yet, so this is one to wait and watch for the moment.

If you would like to discuss your marketing requirements, please call Alison Page on tel: 07963 002065 or email: hello@alisonpagemarketing.co.uk. You can of course browse our website to see what our existing clients have to say about our work.