Is the Cookie Law Dead?

Is the cookie law dead? At least one company is willing to call it already.

A month after the law came into effect in the UK, software company Silktide conducted research into how websites were coping.

They found 95% of UK websites have made no attempt whatsoever to comply. Possibly worse, 76% of the websites that tried to comply were simply adding a cookie policy and linking to that on every page. Those websites still set cookies, still track users, and don’t give any more control over their privacy except for explaining how to disable cookies in a browser.

In their video “The Cookie Law – 28 Days Later”, Silktide announced their findings, mocked the ICO’s complaints process and declared the law effectively dead:

We spoke to the creator of this video Oliver Emberton, who elaborated: “Most people have been waiting to see how the law panned out. We now know most sites – including big players like Amazon and DirectGov – are just adding a basic cookie policy. That does diddly-squat for their user’s privacy, but based on the ICO’s nonchalant response so far it looks like it’s enough to claim you’re working towards compliance.”

“Although the ICO announced it has received ‘hundreds’ of complaints, given the volume of UK websites that number is exceedingly small. Given the majority of normal people don’t even know about the law or how to raise a complaint, we’d say the chances of a small/medium business website being picked on for inspection are practically zero.”

“Unless the ICO decides to make a serious example of a big website soon, we expect this law will soon be ignored, and eventually forgotten. And frankly: good bloody riddance”.

What do you think of the controversial cookie law? Are you still implementing solutions or have you given up trying to comply? Let us know your thoughts below.


  • tristar1983

    I hope so, it’s such a ridiculous, not very well thought through EU law. I hope Silktide make a difference.

  • primalmedia21

    Having spent quite some time getting many of the available scripts to work I have to admit I am pulling my hair out. I suspect that those who have attempted to do this are in fact either waiting for more clarification, waiting to see what happens or merely adding the cookie policies as an intention of compliance. In my case I am in the 75%. I have just advised a main client to take a controlled risk until a new website is developed with full compliance. It was not a case of redesign for compliance but good timing as the clients message has changed.

    I suspect that, even on sites that do comply fully at the moment, many users just click the button just to get to the content. Many of my clients don’t use cookies to gather information they are just integral to the user experience and gather anonymous information. i still have a duty of care to point the law out and eyes just roll up with astonishment with no idea of what you are implying.

    I must admit that I have thought of using other statistical analytics software, as Oliver has noted in a post above, which may well be detrimental to Google at some point in the future. A wry smile has just come over my face, as Google may well wade in at that point.

    To my mind, this does not just affect EU websites but all websites if viewed in the EU or was that not thought about? How does the ICO deal with what EU users contend with cookie wise from outside the EU?

    Here’s a question on session cookies. Session cookies are not only used on shopping carts but elsewhere so that users movements in a given website are remembered for them. Why are these not exempt or regarded as necessary?

    In conclusion this law is in such a mess that it requires a rethink or laid to rest once and for all.


  • Gadfly

    An EU directive is not law, it is a request for member states to comply with the directive by legislation.  So, what UK law is it that website-owners are supposed to be complying with?  The Information Commission cannot enforce a law unless Parliament has legislated for it.

  • This is the first I’ve heard of any “cookie law.”