Cookie law: To opt in or to opt out

Mike Green
Jul 8, 2012 · 2 min read
CC-BY Wikimedia Commons

Since May 26 of 2012, the infamous “cookie law” has been in effect in the United Kingdom. While there have been many questions regarding its implementation on websites, most have settled on the “implied consent” method, as it was easiest to implement and had the least amount of impact on the visitors.

Using Cookillian on my own website, I had initially decided on using the strict method. It barred cookies outright and required the visitor to make an explicit decision about cookies. With this method, the average between opt in and out was nearly 50:50 down the middle. For June, I decided to change from explicit to implied consent, and as seen in the statistics below this changed the numbers significantly:

These numbers were taken from Cookillian’s statistics for the specified month, and takes into account those that ignored the alert. As you can see, at most 20% of the visitors (for the Czech Republic) had decided not to receive cookies. A combined average of 15.92% visitors decided not to receive cookies, which is certainly a significant difference between the near 50:50 split when using explicit consent.

I’m wondering whether this is simply a matter of convenience outweighing matters of e-privacy (as the EC has nicely named it). And while I do think it is important to let a visitor decide about cookies, was the law in itself really worth the effort — and aggravation? Time will tell.


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