What are Cookies?
Cookies are small files that web pages leave on your hard drive. They are usually used to save user information. Remembering a login name is probably the most widely used application for Cookies.
What is the Cookie Law?
The Cookie Law refers to the Cookie article from the Telecommunications Act. The Cookie legislation will let the user take control over the cookies on his or her computer. This would make it clearer to the user exactly what cookies do and what information the user gives away, in order to achieve better online privacy.
Each site is legally obliged to inform the user about the nature of the services and Cookies must ask permission for its use. Cookies for functional use will still be legal, you can think of remembering a shopping basket for a user. But with Google Analytics, IP addresses are stored, and since “storing IP addresses” is part of the Privacy Act you could get in trouble. The Analytics users and webmasters can not track individual visitors, Google can.
Read the factsheet (in dutch) of the Cookie Legislation ICT law.
What about the online browsable documents and new Cookie Law?
The codes of Online Publisher that anyone can embed on a desired web page, contain Analytics and Session Cookies. The end user must give permission for placing the Cookies. This may be a message like this brochure that we have put live, as an example. If you have a site where no cookies are placed, then such message is not required. However, it does apply if you embed a browsable publication on your website (not when you link to a onlinepublisher.nl URL). A nice live example is Orange Valley where you can see that if you do not give permission, a report will stay visible in the lower right corner and you can allow cookies later; a cool solution.
Many websites do not yet comply with the new Cookie law. This is probably due to the prevailing uncertainty about the law and the fact that it was announced that there will be no enforcement until 2013. Check Emerce for a interesting article about the Traffic4u Marketing Agency research, which concluded that the Netherlands ignore the Cookie law massively at this moment.