ICO issues statement on cookies following criticism of inaction

20/12/2023 | ICO

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has warned some of the UK's top websites that they could face enforcement action if they fail to comply with data protection laws. The ICO has raised concerns that certain websites are not providing users with fair choices regarding whether or not they want to be tracked for targeted, personalised advertising. The ICO has given the companies 30 days to ensure their websites comply with the law. The ICO will update this work in January, including details of companies that still need to address their concerns. 

Stephen Almond, ICO Executive Director of Regulatory Risk, said: "Our research shows that many people are concerned about companies using their personal information to target them with ads without their consent."

The statement follows a recent blog article posted by data protection specialist Jon Baines, who wrote: "I was stupid, I was naive: I thought that recent statements from senior people at the ICO indicated a willingness to enforce against non-compliance in the use of cookies and cookie banners." The article goes on to provide details of a response the ICO took ten weeks to make concerning a complaint about the use of cookies and similar technologies by the owner of the MailOnline website. 

It's an interesting read. 

UPDATE: 201223 - The ICO has published the letter sent to the UK's top 100 most-visited websites in November, notifying some of them that their cookie banners may not comply with the UK General Data Protection Regulation and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

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