Thursday, 26 May 2011

More cooking with cookies

Sorry, this blog isn't intended to be all about cookies. I'm not even very interested in them but this whole EU regulation thing just keeps growing and this is as good a place to keep notes about it as anywhere.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published an open letter on the subject:
This seems to be trying to make some interesting assertions, including the idea that consent doesn't always need to be obtained in advance (based on the subtle difference of some instances being preceded by "prior" and some not). It does seem to say that whatever you do they don't think that relying on current browser cookie controls is enough.

The other interesting development is the addition of a banner to the ICO's web site that tells you about its cookie use and allows you to opt into more cookies (and incidentally get rid of the banner):
(Hint: if you want to go back to the default state after you've accepted their cookies then delete the cookie called ICOCookiesAccepted, or all cookies from

I think they are implementing this in their CMS and so serving different versions of their pages to different people, so an identical approach won't work on a purely static site. Note BTW that this means they have to disable caching which may have performance and load implications. I have an idea that a pure JavaScript approach might be possible for a static site, but my JavaScript isn't up to it! I'm rather hoping that Google might provide a canned solution along these lines for Analytics.

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