Posts Tagged ‘EU’

Response from the EU Webmaster

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

I previously contacted the EU regarding the fact that their websites set cookies without user consent in violation of an EU regulation. (See previous post).

Their response was as follows: –

Dear Madam / Sir,

We thank you for your interest in the European Parliament website.

Indeed, the EU Cookies Directive effective since 25th May 2011 imposes the consent of the User during setup of cookies. We are currently considering the compliancy towards this opt-in policy. The principle of a Guideline is to establish a normative frame imposed to the member states. Then, the national authorities have to enact practical and restrictive measures for websites owners.

Requirement of User consent is not obvious regarding, for example, cookies setup by Google analytics,… In every case, the Institutions have to think in a practical way, about a coherent policy regarding this matter, which can take some time.

Therefore we thank you in advance for your patience.

Best regards,

Europarl Webmaster

Directorate for Media

In other words, it sounds like they don’t know what to do about it either and they are going to wait and see what everyone else does!

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 ( 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.
Agent 133:I would like to suggest that I forward your enquiry to the European Commission.
Agent 133:Would that be acceptable for you?
Agent 133:Would you mind giving me your email address?
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!

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!