Publishers, Cookies and Privacy, EU Style
Last week Josh Sternberg posted about how publishers are dealing with user privacy.
The Too Long, Didn’t Read version of it is that they haven’t.
Instead, they say that privacy issues lie upstream with the ad networks that feed behavioral advertising to readers of our favorite sites. Publishers then — more or less — are sitting on the sidelines when it comes to questions about the how the likes of you or I are tracked and followed with cookies when we access their content.
I write shorthand though. Because what we’re talking about when we talk about publisher ambivalence to privacy is US publishers. Across the European Union a new consumer privacy law has taken effect that requires sites to spell out how cookies are used, how users are tracked and — most important — how users can opt out of being followed and tracked.
For instance, in the screenshot above that I took over the weekend, a giant notice appeared alerting users how to manage cookies when accessing the BBC Web site. Click through and you end up on a privacy and cookies page that fairly clearly spells out the types of cookies the BBC uses, and then has another page that lets you select what type of cookies you choose to accept while on the site.
I asked John Johnston, our UK-based contributor about this implementation. Here’s what he had to say:
Meantime, ZDNet reports that even though the cookie law went into effect over the weekend, and applies to all member states, institutions like the European Parliament and European Commission haven’t implemented the necessary changes on their Web sites.
If cookies and privacy are your thing, here’s the European Commission’s directive on online privacy behind the new law (PDF).