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GoSquared and EU cookie law compliance

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The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 are now being enforced across sites operating within and from the EU. It has been introduced primarily to prevent unauthorised ad tracking due to numerous complaints and browser plugins such as Do Not Track. A move with good intentions, but the extent of the effects on other cookies has been shrouded with very little advice.

On the 2nd of April 2012, the International Chamber of Commerce UK released a full guide to these new regulations, which became law on the 26th May 2011.┬áThere are now distinct categories for each cookie, which category the cookie falls into is decided by the nature of them, for example if they’re for security, analytics, settings or ad targeting.

Category 1 is for ‘strictly necessary cookies’. They are usually first-party (originating and solely relating to the site the user is on) and session based (expire when the page is closed). Without these cookies, services that the user has requested to use, such as shopping baskets, cannot be provided.

Category 2 is where GoSquared’s cookies fall into. They are defined as ‘performance cookies‘ and they collect information about how visitors use a website. They are not allowed to actually identify the visitor and are used to improve how the website works.

Category 3 is for functionality. They remember choices that the user makes, such as a username, language or region.

Category 4 cookies are hit hardest by the new law. They are used to deliver adverts based on your browsing history, measure the effectiveess of ad campaigns and limit the number of times you see the same advert.

Why does the category matter? Well, the level of consent required to set the cookie varies between the categories. Category 1 doesn’t require any user consent at all whilst Category 4 requires the user to make an informed choice as to whether they want the cookie before it can be set. In short, it’s not looking good for ad networks.

As previously mentioned, GoSquared’s cookies fall under Category 2. Performance cookies require consent to be given in the form of a Privacy Policy or Terms and Conditions. This means our service won’t be affected by the new law, but we recommend you add the following clause to your own privacy policy, if you haven’t got one already, stating that you use GoSquared for awesome real-time analytics:

“This website uses Go Squared Ltd’s web analytics services.

GoSquared’s services use cookies, text files that are stored on your computer and which enable an analysis of your use of this website. The information generated by the cookie about your use of this website (including your IP address) are transmitted to GoSquared (which may use data repositories outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) such as the United States of America), where it is then stored for us.

We control how the information collected about you is used. GoSquared will use it on our behalf to evaluate your use of this website and report to us about this website’s operations. GoSquared may provide it to third parties if needs be, for example, in order to comply with the law or to third parties processing that information on behalf of GoSquared. For more information on GoSquared’s practices, please see http://www.gosquared.com/legal/

If you wish to restrict or block cookies you can do this through your browser settings – the Help function within your browser should tell you how. Alternatively, you may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers. Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the functionality of this website.

By using this website, you consent to the processing of the data captured relating to your use of the website by us (and by GoSquared acting on our behalf) in the manner and for the purposes described above, as may be supplemented by our privacy policy.

Website owners, we recommend you check out the ICC guide to assess any other cookies that are on your website.

Internet users may well notice rather annoying consent popups appearing in various locations around. We find the one on the beta UK Government replacement to DirectGov rather amusing. Found an interesting one? Tweet us @GoSquared.

Written by
Lead developer at GoSquared for integrations, partnerships and the API. Works on pretty much everything.

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