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29 Mar

Do new laws in Europe mean you need to upgrade your website?

Published: 2 years, 4 months, 4 days, 16 hours, 55 minutes    
Tags: Doing Business Online
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Presently in Europe website owners are busily updating their websites to comply with the new EU Cookie Laws. These laws affect any website which uses cookies to track user information without the users explicit consent. This is most websites with a CMS, Google Analytics (web statistics) or both.

How does this affect my Australian business?

At this stage, it's unclear how this law will be enforced within Australia (if at all). It has been said however that If you have a website which has more of a global focus, it is strongly advisable you contact your website developers to help plan the changes you'll need in order to continue servicing the EU without fear of a legal issue.

What can you do?

If you're using ExpressionEngine 2, there will be an update available next month (April) which you are advised to upgrade to. This contains changes to the CMS which comply with these new laws.

If you use Google Analytics, it is currently being reported that the EU will be turning a blind eye to this for the time being. Google have been working with the bodies who are enforcing this law to try and arrive at a solution which won't greatly impact website owners.

Magento Commerce has not yet released an official statement regarding their position on this matter. It may be however the Magento Clients fit within the listed exceptions outlined within these laws which indicates cookies can be used whereby they are necessary for the function of the site.

Most clients on our Ecssite CMS need not worry as cookies are rarely used on this platform and when they are, it has been for functional purposes only.

Our clients on MojoMotor may also need to await an official response from EllisLab regarding any action they may need to make however EllisLab have been taking a firm direction on this mater.

Clients running WordPress blogs have been given a plugin which will help with compliance.

How long do I have to comply?

The laws come into force on the 26th May 2012

Where can I find more information?

Information on Google Analytics and the E-Privacy Laws

McCullough Robertson Lawyers thoughts on the EU Cookie Laws for Australians

Analytics experts SilkTide's opinion on why Google Analytics will be exempt from this law

The Wordpress plugin to help with the EU Cookie Law compliance

An FAQ relating to the EU Cookie Laws

EllisLab on the upcoming EE 2.5 release which addresses the EU Cookie Legislation

Disclaimer

As you review the links above you'll see that there are still a few unknowns regarding how this new law will end up affecting sites on the Internet. Presently there are still no clear guidelines regarding best practices and the full legislation is detailed and complex, really requiring a legal eye to interpret. 

To this affect, we're publishing this information now as a matter of raising awareness and to encourage those people who believe they may be affected to start making some changes in order to protect themselves and their businesses from any future legal concerns. If however you have serious concerns regarding how to proceed, we advise you consult legal advice.

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