Guidance on the rules on use of cookies and similar technologies

Topic Selected: Privacy

General Article icon Type: General Article

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (the Regulations) cover the use of cookies and similar technologies for storing information, and accessing information stored, on a user’s equipment such as their computer or mobile.

A cookie is a small file, typically of letters and numbers, downloaded on to a device when the user accesses certain websites. Cookies are then sent back to originating website on each subsequent visit. Cookies are useful because they allow a website to recognise a user’s device. The Regulations apply to cookies and also to similar technologies for storing information. This could include, for example, Local Shared Objects.

The use of cookies and similar technologies has for some time been commonplace and cookies in particular are important in the provision of many online services. Using such technologies is not, therefore, prohibited by the Regulations but they do require that people are told about cook

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