The UK Information Commissioner (ICO), Christopher Graham, announced at the IAPP Data Protection Intensive on 25-26 April 2012, that enforcement of the cookie law will be ''pragmatic and realistic'', when the moratorium on enforcement is lifted on 26 May 2012.
The UK cookie consent law - which implements the EU Privacy and Communications Directive - came into effect last year in May, but enforcement was stalled by the ICO to allow businesses time to find adequate solutions. The law requires users' consent before cookies can be installed on their computers.
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''Despite the sensationalist claims made by some, the truth is that the threshold for monetary fines under UK data protection law is so high, that fines for this type of breach (in the UK!) are extremely unlikely'', said Eduardo Ustaran, Partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse. ''However, it would also be extremely foolish to assume that in the absence of fines, non-compliant websites are simply off the hook. Quite the opposite - the ICO will focus instead on ensuring that infringing sites are forced to get their house in order within a limited period of time and therefore, both undertakings and enforcement notices will become the preferred enforcement tool in this area.''
''The CNIL is now in line with other EU Member States such as Ireland'', said Gabriel Voisin, Associate at Bird & Bird LLP. ''However, this exemption for analytic cookies is yet to be applicable everywhere as other countries like the UK do not go down that road.''