Considerable concern has been expressed about the news that it has apparently been agreed to change European law on cookies as part of the revision of the Telecoms Directives.
Two facts may mean that things aren’t quite that bad.
First, both the old and new texts recognise that some cookies are “strictly necessary” to provide the service that the user wants. Shopping cart cookies are the most obvious example. These cookies are, and will continue to be, exempt from the right to refuse – the only way to refuse these cookies is not to use the service.
Second, EC Directives need to be transposed into UK law, and commentators have expressed the hope that what emerges from this may be a more practical requirement, supported by pragmatic guidance from the Information Commissioner. Most Directives give member states 18 months to transpose the EC requirement into national law, so there are likely to be some interesting discussions between now and 2011.