Archive for May, 2011

Why the EU can’t comply with the EU Cookie Law

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

You may have heard about the new EU “Cookie Law”. I’m not going to post why it is so idiotic here, I’ll leave you to read about it in other places.

However, I decided that for a laugh I would see if the EU websites comply with the Cookie Law. I looked at 2 of them, and neither of them appeared to. I then decided to contact them via their online chat facility to ask why not. A transcript follows (personal details removed)…

Agent 133:[joined]
Agent 133:Welcome to the EUROPE DIRECT web assistance service. For future reference, your enquiry case ID number is *****.
Agent 133:How can I help you?
****:Hi, I would like to know why this website (europa.eu) and the European Parliament website do not comply with EU directives
****:to be specific, Directive 2009/136/EC Articles 5(3) and 2(5)
****:which state that a user must give explicit consent before cookies are stored
****:however, this site stores a cookie ‘europa_esurvey’
****:and the europarl website stored Google Analytics cookies – ‘__utmz’, ‘__utma’, ‘__utmc’ and ‘__utmb’
****:I was not asked for my consent before any of these were stored
Agent 133:Please wait a moment.
****:ok
Agent 133:I would like to suggest that I forward your enquiry to the European Commission.
Agent 133:Would that be acceptable for you?
****:yes
Agent 133:Would you mind giving me your email address?
****:******@****.com
Agent 133:Is **** your family name?
****:yes – my first name is ******
Agent 133:ok, thank you.
Agent 133:Do you have any other questions regarding this matter?
****:do you have any idea when I should expect a response?
Agent 133:Usually within 3 working days (over 95% of enquiries).
Sometimes we have to send your question to the relevant in-house expert, which takes longer, though no more than 3 weeks.

****:ok, thank you
Agent 133:Are you an IT expert yourself?
****:yes – I’m a computer programmer
Agent 133:ok, I see.
Agent 133:Is there anything else I can do for you?
****:no, that’s all. Thanks
Agent 133:Thank you for using the EUROPE DIRECT web assistance service.
Agent 133:Have a nice afternoon and evening, bye!
****:bye!

I can’t say that I was really surprised that they couldn’t give me an instant answer. I was slightly surprised that they were actually reasonably helpful and fairly friendly (although “Agent 133” seems a bit needlessly anonymous – most firms who have online chat facilities seem to have a surplus of very English names for people who are obviously not native English speakers). I will probably post up when I get a response from them. I’m very curious what it will be!