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Government to Adopt Do Not Track Laws

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Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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21 April 2011

The Government has confirmed it will bring the new EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive into law by May 25. It is seeking to bring a draft of the law before Parliament by the end of the month without deviating from the Directive's wording.

The main issue at the heart of the proposed Directive is the way cookies are treated. Cookies are text files which sites place on computers to track a user's behaviour; for instance to remember their details so they do not have to re-enter them when they next visit the site. BT caused outrage when it trialled its Phorm system in 2008, which tracked browsing habits in order to target web advertisements accordingly. The Crown Prosecution Service said this week that it would not prosecute BT under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, stating it did not believe such a prosecution to be in the public interest.

The new law aims to allow users to opt out of being tracked by cookies and to consent on an ongoing basis, rather than each time they visit a site. The problem is that the technology has yet to catch up with the law, which is not often the case. Of the four most commonly used web browsers, Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4 both include "do not track" features and Apple has announced plans for the next version of its Safari browser to follow suit. Advertising giant Google, however, has somewhat unsurprisingly been less enthusiastic than its competitors to implement such features into its Chrome browser, although it does allow for an extension to be downloaded manually by a user in order to implement such features.

Despite the fact that the technology will still be in a development stage by the May 25 deadline, the Information Commissioner's Office has confirmed that it will not be seeking to enforce the rules immediately, so as to allow for its development and deployment.

Aasim Durrani is a legal assistant to Izaz Ali (izaz.ali@lawdit.co.uk). Izaz is a commercial solicitor who specialises in information technology law and intellectual property law with an emphasis on IT, escrow, online and off-line contracts and the buying and selling of online businesses.


About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-04-29 21:45:20 in Legal Articles

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