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BBC Site Uses Cookies To Inform Visitors of Anti-Cookie Law 98

Andy Smith writes "As of 26 May 2011 web sites in the UK must get a user's permission to set cookies. If you go to the BBC's commercial TV listings site Radio Times you'll see a message telling you about the new law. Go to the site again, though, and you don't see the message. How does the site know you've already seen it? By setting a cookie of course! It doesn't ask for permission."
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BBC Site Uses Cookies To Inform Visitors of Anti-Cookie Law

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  • idiot submission (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2011 @06:30AM (#36272100)

    The new cookie laws are only about tracking cookies, not session cookies or cookies necessary for the functioning of the website.
    That cookie is not a tracking cookie, as such it isn't breaking the law. non-news.

  • by Blahah ( 1444607 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @06:42AM (#36272128)

    If you follow the link in the pop-up, the BBC website explains that the changes will be phased in gradually over the Summer.

    "The government's view is that there should be a phased approach to the implementation of these changes. Over the summer, we will be working on developing the best methods for obtaining your consent.

    In the meantime, you can control cookies by setting your device to notify you when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. We will ensure that we continue to provide you with clear and comprehensive information about the cookies we use, so that you can make informed decisions."

    On top of that, the law only covers tracking cookies, but the BBC is going to include all cookies in it's policy. No story here.

  • Re:idiot submission (Score:2, Informative)

    by ColaMan ( 37550 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @06:55AM (#36272168) Journal

    Er, I don't want to be Captain Obvious here, but doesn't the cookie *track* who has seen or not seen the message about the cookies?

  • Re:idiot submission (Score:5, Informative)

    by SilentChasm ( 998689 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @07:12AM (#36272208)

    By tracking cookies I think they mean uniquely identifiable, like an ID number for a specific user that they can then tie advertising preferences to. Tracking stuff like site settings seems like an actual valid use of cookies.

    I do agree with you though on the "necessary for the functioning of the website" loophole, as they could just include advertising tracking as "necessary" (for financial reasons of course).

  • Re:idiot submission (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 28, 2011 @07:17AM (#36272218)

    Probably not, if the cookie only contains "Don't show the message again", it isn't tracking. Tracking is when the information makes you uniquely identifiable, which this clearly isn't.

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Saturday May 28, 2011 @07:19AM (#36272224)

    No, that's what you get when the person writing the article doesn't understand what's happened - it's absolutely legal to store cookies that are required for the functionality of the site. This will clearly count. What's not legal is storing cookies that are only for tracking you without asking.

  • Here's how it goes: (Score:4, Informative)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Saturday May 28, 2011 @08:07AM (#36272392)

    Your Browser: Hey BBC, gimme a web page with the URI: []

    BBC Server: Here is the web page you requested, with cookie notification text (since you did not provide any cookie), and also a cookie.

    Your Browser: Thanks! Let's see, the user settings say, "Accept Cookie" I'm permitted by the user to store this cookie.

    --- Later ---

    Your Browse: Hey BBC, gimme a web page [...] and also here's that cookie that you gave me which my user already gave permission for me to save and return to you via their preferences.

    BBC Server: Ah, I see you provided me the cookie that if you had not given your browser permission to send me, I wouldn't be seeing right now -- I guess I won't show you that cookie info text this time.


    P.S. If the basic cookie settings aren't enough for you, use an existing plugin like Cookie Monster for Firefox -- More power over your god damn cookies than you could ever want. Honestly, if you don't understand it, leave it the fuck alone, before you hurt someone!

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian