How are UK retailers (and others) responding to the E-privacy directive?

Only one month from today to comply with the new law


Recommended link: Ecomplished survey

Our commentary on the E-privacy directive - deadline 26th May

We’re getting close to the deadline for compliance with this law, it’s a month away today.

In previous posts we’ve alerted readers to the latest guidance from the ICO on implementation for the cookie law and different solutions (Solution #1, Solution #2 and Solution #3).

With a month to go, here is a timely survey of 100 retailers’ response to the directive published by Ecomplished. The survey suggests:

  • 29% of UK retailers believe on-site 3rd party cookies are someone else’s problem
  • 34% plan to use compulsory pop-ups for opt-in
  • 47% believe their cookies are non-intrusive and therefore exempt

Implications of the survey results

The Ecomplished survey suggests if you haven’t taken action, you won’t be alone, which could be reassuring? 39% believe all the cookies are non intrusive and so unnecessary and 23% are the responsibility of a third-party. It’s likely that both of these groups won’t be compliant.

However, around two-thirds of businesses have carried out a cookie audit and updated their privacy policies. We’d recommend this is the minimum you do and review solutions.

The next level is informed or implicit consent with this survey suggesting that we are going to see a lot more pop-up windows (34% compulsory opt-in, 54% non-compulsory).  So the web is going to be much uglier and less usable this time next month in many case.

It’s also commercially perilous since this recent Econsultancy survey suggests that only 23% of users will accept cookies:

Here’s an example of BT’s laudable (or do I mean laughable) attempt at compliance - simples :) :


Overall businesses

Looking across all businesses, Econsultancy have this 141 page report on business response and recommendations which mainly looks at understanding and reading of the ICO report, not compliance approaches, but its still recommended reading.

Econsultancy also have an interview with The ICO’s Dave Evans on EU cookie law compliance which has further guidance.

Interesting/concerning times. All the best…

Share your thoughts

  • mark. chapman commented on May 21, 2012

    This legislation is as irritating and bothersome (and more besides) as Wolf Software keep on posting adverts about cookie compliance solutions on your various blog posts!

  • Stuart Murphy commented on April 27, 2012

    This legislation is effectively a ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’. Unless there is a compelling public harm, there is rarely a need for legislators to implement law which seeks to act for the public good, when the public in question have no idea what the law means.

  • Ochapple commented on April 27, 2012

    If most users don’t know what cookies are it’s no wonder the acceptance will be so slow.
    Non of the major brands seem to be taking this seriously or should I say they are interpreting to make it actually work, which is do nothing other than have a clear disclaimer.

    Look at amazon, tesco, sainsburys – nothing so far! As of now!

    • Yes, I agree (and with Stuart) – I think the consumer perception data shows it’s too damaging to the business to implement this – I’m actually surprised by how many claim to have implemented pop-ups.

      Will be interesting to look this time next month.

  • Wolf Software commented on April 27, 2012

    We now have a complete suite of compliance solutions ( These are in use by some big name brands including Heinz.

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