I’m not usually one of those who blames everything on Brussels and the Eurocrats, but every now and then I get the feeling that there is someone sat at a desk, chewing his pencil, wondering what he can add to the list of ‘things we should be worried about’.
Unless you’ve visited previously in the last 24 hours, you will have been greeted by the message above on your computer screen and it deserves a post by way of explanation.
On 26 May 2011, the man with the chewed pencil threw hit hat in the air to celebrate his greatest creation – the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (UK Regulations).
Almost all websites use ‘cookies’ in one way or another to make for a better browsing experience for their visitors. These are little text files that a website puts on your computer so that the next time you visit, it remembers who you are and your preferences.
The man with the shredded 2HB concluded that this is potentially a serious breach of your privacy and that you should be given the option of informed consent before allowing such an insidious invasion of your disk space, hence the Privacy and Electronic Communications etc regulations.
I should stress that cookies don’t actually do anything when on your computer. They’re not code, they can’t execute any actions and they certainly can’t replicate themselves like a virus.
They can be used as form of spyware to track where you go, sites you like etc which is why you often see ads appear for items you might have been searching for, but on the whole they’re harmless.
But that hasn’t stopped the EU which is why I’ve added the box, even if it isn’t clear to me whether this applies to personal blog sites or note, or whether it’s just corporate sites.
For the record, I don’t store any personal information on anyone who visits Shooting Parrots, other than email addresses that I have absolutely no intention of sharing with anyone else.
Other cookies help with the Google Analytics to see where visitors are coming from and what they’re looking at, but this is aggregated information and I can’t identify individual visitors.
But if the box becomes a pain I can always turn it off.