Irish web sites lag UK in EU cookie directive

Pro

23 October 2012

Irish web sites have far lower standards of compliance with the EU cookie directive when compared to corresponding web sites in the UK, according to research by security specialist Espion.

In a new white paper, the company examined 50 top ranking domestic UK sites as well as 50 top ranking Irish-based sites, all of which are required by law to inform users about cookies and gain consent for their use. The company developed bespoke analysis criteria to assess each country’s performance around specific aspects of the directive which was transposed into Irish law in July 2011.

Espion found that only 4% of Irish web sites abided by the requirement to have cookie information "prominently displayed" and "clearly accessible" throughout the site, compared to 62% of UK sites.

 

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A primary condition of the legislation is to provide "user friendly, clear and comprehensive" information about cookies, but Espion reports that Irish web sites underperformed with the majority (86%) failing to provide any attempt whatsoever at comprehensively detailing the cookies on their sites. UK sites fared better, according to Espion, with 28% achieving the highest standards of compliance followed by well over half (56%) achieving the next score down.

When it came to finding obligatory cookie information on the landing page, almost half (46%) of the UK sites provided the information within one user action compared with just 2% of the Irish sites had easy to locate cookie statements with the vast majority (78%), having them nestled away in the privacy statement located at the bottom of the landing pages.

"We have known for some time that privacy laws governing the use of personal data are tightening which has widespread implications for Irish businesses," said Colm Fagan, services director, Espion.  "Our research shows the enormous difference between prominent UK and Irish web sites in relation to compliance.  If companies are unclear around straightforward cookie adjustments it doesn’t bode well for how they will tackle future governance issues around the ever-evolving terrain of data protection enforcement." 

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