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V3 reporter Dan Worth

Google Struggling to Create System to Comply with UK ePrivacy Directive

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ICO front page informing users of new cookie law permissionsGoogle has admitted that it is struggling to create a system of processes that will allow the firm to abide by new cookie laws owing to the sheer number of its products that are affected by the rules.

The cookie law is an amendment to the ePrivacy Directive which came into force on 26 May, and requires web site owners using cookies to achieve explicit consent from visitors to install and run cookies on their systems.

Anthony House, public policy manager at Google, said the company's work on compliance is "in progress" but is taking longer than the firm had hoped. "One of the things that has made us move more slowly than we would like is that we have to cover it from all the angles," he said at an event to discuss the issue hosted by law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse and attended by V3.

"We have a popular destination site, an ad network, a browser and an analytics solution that's almost a mini-microcosm of the internet when we have an internal meeting to discuss what we are going to do, so it's taking a little bit of time."

House added that, despite the difficulties the law is creating, compliance is crucial for Google as the technology forms such a vital part of its systems.

"The things that cookies do are necessary to the web working, and we've always tried to be very forthright with customers and publishers about what those cookies are for," he said.

"We know some publishers are being approached by competitors who say they can do what Google does without cookies and so avoid the issues of the ePrivacy Directive, but this isn't ideal for consumers as we could end up with other technologies that offer less transparency [than cookies] being used."

The Information Commissioner's Office, meanwhile, used the event to urge all firms not already working on the necessary systems to begin immediately, as the 12-month grace period to comply reaches the half way stage.

This article was originally published on V3.


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